Hearing aids: high-tech for the ear

Hearing problems can cause interpersonal difficulties. A TV set too loud can disturb roommates and also linguistic communication. In noisy environments, hearing-impaired people have a hard time understanding what's being said. In typical senile deafness, high notes are often perceived less well, and consonants such as l, t or m are less well heard. If hearing in one ear is worse than on the other, those affected can often no longer determine the spatial position of sound and noise sources. This can be a significant safety hazard in road traffic for them. It is dangerous when crossing a street, a car is ignored, or only at the last moment is noticed from which side it approaches. Therefore, hearing problems should not be taken lightly.

Changes in old age

In old age, hearing problems are often based on so-called sensorineural hearing loss. Hearing sensory cells and auditory nerves of the inner ear are often continuously and irrevocably damaged by years of noise pollution or by the deterioration in the blood circulation of the inner ear. In contrast, conductive hearing loss occurs when the outer or middle ear are affected. This often affects younger people and can often be treated by medication or surgery. Causes of bad hearing are many. In the most harmless case, a Schmalzpfropf can clog the ear canal and affect the hearing, but also a middle ear infection may be the cause. In rare cases, a congenital malformation of the ossicles may be to blame.

Wear a hearing aid?

While the wearing of a visual aid, meaning glasses, is widely regarded and accepted as normal, the wearing of a hearing aid costs some people a lot more to overcome. However, one should not hesitate too long to use a hearing aid. If the auditory nerve is not regularly used, it may lose its capacity. A hearing aid adapted too late can hardly compensate for this loss. If an ear, nose and throat doctor has determined that the hearing has been impaired on the basis of sound and language tests, he will prescribe a hearing aid if necessary. A hearing care professional can then determine which sounds are no longer or less heard. Which device is suitable depends on the type and extent of the hearing impairment as well as the respective personal skill in operating the small devices. It is also possible to carry a hearing aid sample. The computer age has not stopped in front of the ear. Today's hearing aids do not have much to do with the beeping and rushing devices of earlier generations.

In-ear devices

In-ear devices are relatively small, so that they "disappear" in the ear canal, so to speak. They are suitable for mild to moderate hearing losses. However, they are not recommended for patients with badly oozing ears.

Behind-the-ear devices

These devices are worn behind the ear and connect to the ear through a transparent earmold. They are also suitable for severe hearing problems.

Hörbrillen

Hearing goggles are suitable for people who are hard of hearing glasses and are installed in the eyeglass frames.

directional microphones

They help extremely deaf people to filter out individual voices with strong background noises. This can be useful, for example, when talking at major events or at concerts. The rather small directional microphone is placed on the table or the stage or simply put on the shirt of the speaker.

Technical differences

Technically, the individual devices can be distinguished. Single-channel devices They only allow the uniform amplification of all frequencies. Multi-channel devices You can amplify the different frequencies individually depending on the hearing problem of the device carrier. Thus, the speech intelligibility is optimized in case of unfavorable ambient noise. Analogue Hearing Aids They basically amplify the sounds and noises they pick up without filtering out certain interference frequencies. Digital Programmable Hearing Aids You have a microscopic computer chip. It is programmed to amplify precisely those frequencies that are poorly heard. Fully digital hearing aids Fully digital hearing aids are also controlled by a computer chip. However, they adapt independently and flexibly to the respective environmental situation, for example to filter out noise and highlight language.

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