If you’re experiencing hearing loss, you may need a hearing aid. Created for people who have acute and long-lasting hearing loss, hearing aids can make a huge difference in the daily life of those whose hearing has been harmed, or declined with age.
With locations in Orlando and Kissimmee, Florida, Florida Ear, Nose, Throat & Facial Plastic Surgery Center is led by Elvira Livigni-De Armas, AUD, an experienced audiologist with over two decades of experience. Dr. Livigni-De Armas and the audiology team work closely with patients who have recently started using a hearing aid, giving them useful tips and guidance. In this post, we discuss everything you need to know about hearing aids, including what it’s like to adjust to one.
What exactly is a hearing aid?
Hearing aids are small devices that are fitted in or around the ear to help you hear more effectively. Also referred to as “personal hearing amplifiers,” these devices are presently only available through prescription, allowing your provider to choose the best fit for your needs. Hearing aids come in a variety of sizes, with features that vary from model to model.
Hearing aids aren’t for those who struggle to hear clearly from time to time, but for people who struggle daily with hearing loss. According to the World Health Organization, this applies to roughly 430 million people globally, or just over 5% of the world’s population. By 2050, that number is projected to reach about 700 million people, and nearly all of them will likely need hearing aids.
In the US, an estimated 1 in 8 people over age 12 have hearing loss in one or both ears. Hearing aids have come a long way from the huge, awkward ear trumpets of the 17th century to the nearly invisible programmable devices available through Dr. Livigni-De Armas.
How do I know that I need a hearing aid?
The sensitive environment of the ears can be compromised due to the environment, aging, or certain illnesses. Though hearing loss can be temporary, permanent hearing loss is the reason that we offer any patient a hearing aid.
The two most common types of hearing loss are sensorineural hearing loss, or SNHL, and conductive hearing loss. SNHL results from aging in most cases, but can also be caused by:
- Autoimmune inner ear disease
- Ear trauma
- Conditions affecting the nervous system
- Viral infections
Conductive hearing loss results from blocks in the ear, a damaged eardrum, fluid buildup, or issues with the network of bones in your ear. Conductive hearing loss prevents sound from reaching your inner ear, where “hearing” happens.
How do I adjust to a hearing aid?
Adjusting to a hearing aid can prove to be a challenge for some, but don’t worry — your new hearing aid comes with the support of our audiology team and a variety of other resources.
If you’re ready for a hearing aid, we start with a consultation to evaluate your type and severity of hearing loss. Dr. Livigni-De Armas may suggest one type of hearing aid for you, but make sure that you ask your provider if you have questions about the benefits of other models.
Adjusting to your hearing aid starts with your provider, who creates the initial settings for your hearing aid. Your hearing aid requires a small amount of care, and your provider will teach you how to take care of your hearing aid so it will take care of you.
It’s normal for your hearing aid to be uncomfortable at first, which might require working with your provider to establish the length of time you should wear your hearing aid as you’re getting used to it. Common issues with new hearing aid patients include strange noises while using a cell phone, thinking that your own voice is too loud, and background noise picked up by your sensitive equipment.
Time and patience will be your greatest allies as you learn the ins, outs, and abouts of your new device. Don’t be surprised if your provider wants to stay in close contact with you as you begin to experience the benefits of a hearing aid.
I’m ready to hear the news.
The good news is that we can help you improve your hearing, and once you’ve adjusted to your hearing aid, you’ll be able to enjoy better communication and quality of life. To be clear, despite the drastic and noticeable improvement in the quality of your hearing, hearing aids will not be able to restore your natural hearing.
With a little bit of time, patience, and close communication with your provider at Florida Ear, Nose, Throat & Facial Plastic Surgery Center, you’ll be ready to fall back in love with daily life with loved ones. If you’re ready to talk to a professional about your declining or damaged hearing, call either of our Florida offices for a consultation or book an appointment with us online.