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What Are The Facts About Hearing Loss & Hearing Aids?

Good hearing is often taken for granted. Until the time arrives that you cannot clearly hear a friend's voice, you may not realize the beginning of decreased hearing sensitivity in one or both ears.

A loss of hearing may be the result of many different causes. It may be as simple as excessive cerumen (wax) in the ear canal or the result of excessive noise exposure. Most times a loss caused by noise exposure cannot be improved by medical or surgical treatment. However, the availability of special digital hearing aids has made the successful fitting of amplification a reality for those that cannot be helped with medical intervention.

Facts about the use of hearing aids and the incidence of hearing loss in the United States include:

A revolution in hearing aid technology began in 1996 with the advent of digital processing of amplified speech. Since 1996, the digital processing of speech in the presence of background noise (including other voices) has improved to the extent that amplified speech clarity is much closer to the hearing aid user's expectations than ever before.

The two most sought-after expectations from amplification are comfort of the worn device and clarity of the amplified speech signal. These expectations in large measure are now possible in most individuals with hearing loss through the introduction of open fit hearing aids. As the technology improves in open fit hearing aids, the number of successful fittings will increase dramatically.

To determine if you are a candidate for amplification, it is recommended that you see your local audiologist or ENT (ear, nose, and throat physician) for a complete evaluation of the hearing mechanism. If you have a hearing loss that is medically or surgically treatable, an ENT physician can provide you with the appropriate medical resolution. On the other hand, if the hearing loss in question cannot be medically or surgically treated, an audiologist will provide the most appropriate amplification system.

Listings of ENT physicians and audiologists can be found in the Yellow Pages under physicians.

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