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Hearing Aid FAQ's: All You Need To Know

 

As one of the leading independent hearing aid suppliers in the UK, we thought that we should give you detailed overview of the common questions and information asked in regards to all things related to hearing aids and hearing loss.


On this page we will answer these questions:


How common is hearing loss?

Hearing loss is far more common than you may think.

In a study by Action On Hearing Loss they found that an alarmingly high 1 in 6 people are affected by some form of hearing loss in the UK – that’s currently around 11 million of us!

Despite being such a common problem, many people are reluctant to get help with their hearing.

In fact it has been found that the average time most people wait to actually do something about their hearing loss (from the time the loss has first been noticed) to be around 10 years.

If you are visiting this page then it is likely that either you or someone you know is currently experiencing some kind of hearing loss.

If so, please don’t wait a decade before your hearing becomes so bad that it cannot be helped – help your hearing NOW!

As well as feelings of isolation and exclusion from your peers and loved ones, it has been found that there may even be a potential link between hearing loss with depression and dementia.

If you are on this page and you are concerned about any aspect of hearing loss, you have made the very important first step towards helping your hearing, health and happiness.

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What are the signs of hearing loss?

There are several causes of hearing loss as well as numerous signs of hearing loss, so answer honestly if you or someone you know can answer yes to any of the following questions:

  • Do you often ask people to repeat themselves?
  • Do you have trouble hearing the TV, radio, telephone or doorbell?
  • Do you struggle to hear clearly in noisy environments?
  • Do you confuse words or misunderstand conversations?
  • Are you unsure whether sounds are coming from in front of you or behind you?

If the answer is yes to any of these then you really must get your hearing checked.

You can request a free hearing test by clicking on any of the free hearing test buttons on this page where you can leave your details through our simple and quick online form.

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What does a hearing aid system actually do?

Hearing aids are discreet and sophisticated devices which help to transmit sound waves into your ear canals when your natural hearing function becomes impaired.

It is a common misconception that hearing aids simply make sound louder - it is much more sophisticated than that!

How a hearing aid works:

  • Sound enters the microphone
  • The sound is then analysed by a tiny processing chip
  • The sound is sent electronically to an amplifier, where it is digitally altered and then sent to a loudspeaker
  • This processed sound is transmitted directly into your inner ears
  • Electrical impulses pick up the sound ‘as normal’ and are then processed by your brain

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What are the different hearing aid styles?

Hearing aid design is now extremely sophisticated with multiple types of aids from many different manufacturers to help combat individual hearing loss.

There are generally 6 different styles of hearing aids – read on to find out what they will look like when worn and why they are chosen.

Behind-The-Ear (BTE) and mini Behind-The-Ear (mBTE)

Suitable for: Mild, moderate or severe hearing loss

About BTE hearing aids: Fitting behind the ear, these are very versatile because the larger capacity of the casing means the possible processing power can vary greatly. The mini version is simply smaller and less noticeable than the regular version.

 

Receiver-In-canal (RIC) and mini Receiver-In-Canal (mRIC)

Suitable for: Mild, Moderate or severe hearing loss

About RIC hearing aids: Similar to the above style, only in this case a transmission wire connects the shell to the receiver meaning the outer shell can be smaller and less noticeable. Because the receiver is housed in a custom ear mould, they allow for better sound control as well. The mini version is simply smaller than the regular version, making them even less noticeable.

 

In-The-Ear (ITE)

Suitable for: Best suited for those with mild to moderate hearing loss

About ITE hearing aids: All of the circuitry is housed in a custom ear mould, making them even less noticeable than the round the ear styles above. These are best for those with limited dexterity owing to their size and simple control.

 

In-The-Canal (ITC)

Suitable for: Mild to moderate hearing loss. Some may be able to be used by those with severe hearing loss.

About ITC hearing aids: Even smaller than in-the-ear aids, these are custom made to fit in your ear canal which means they are not very conspicuous.

 

Completely-In-The-Canal (CIC)

Suitable for: Mild to moderate hearing loss

About CIC Hearing aids: Custom made and placed into the ear canal itself, these aids are hard to notice so they are ideal for those looking for a cosmetically appealing hearing aid. Those with narrow ear canals may not be suitable candidates to use a CIC hearing aid.

 

Invisible-in-canal (IIC)

Suitable for: Mild to moderate hearing loss

About IIC Hearing Aids: Housed deep inside the ear canal, these are completely invisible which means no one will know that you are using hearing aids. Although their processing power isn’t as much as an outside the ear aid, because they are positioned so close to the ear drum they lower the chance of sound distortion.

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How effective are hearing aids?

Although no hearing aid on earth can replace your natural hearing, a hearing aid is capable of delivering a greatly improved hearing experience.

The short but simple answer to the above question is, ‘it depends’.

The effectiveness of hearing aids depend on a whole host of factors, but chief of all of them is it’s inner processing power and how many separate ‘channels’ they contain.

The more powerful the computing power inside and the more channels available for adjustment, the more refined your hearing aid can be.

This is why hearing aids can not only be divided not only into different shell styles but also by their processing power inside into the following categorisations:

  • Entry
  • Basic
  • Advanced
  • Premium

As an explanation at its most basic, one way to think of the effectiveness of hearing aids is that entry level models offer amplification, but the more high-end models offer clarity.

Hearing loss doesn’t just mean that you don’t hear all sounds at a lower volume because hearing loss is slightly more complicated than that.

When you have a reduction in hearing it is because your ears and brain have stopped being able to hear certain noises owing to their frequency.

One way to understand this is to think of a dog whistle – these seem silent to us because humans are unable to process this ultra-high frequency sound, but dogs are easily capable of hearing it.

This is the same principle with your hearing.

When you start to lose the ability to hear certain frequencies, what happens when you hear noise which contains those frequencies? You are unable to hear those particular noises of course!

This why when someone is talking to you when you are experiencing hearing loss, you will be able to pick up certain words but you will be unable to hear or mishear others.

The job of the hearing aid then is to restore these frequencies you are unable to hear so that you can regain as much of your hearing range as possible.

The more channels are available on your hearing aid, the more it can be adjusted for a range of frequencies (which will be based on your personalised hearing assessment).

Your hearing aid audiologist can explain this in more detail to you, but in the meantime you can get a great overview of the different hearing aids available on the market today by requesting the Free Hearing Consumer Guide.

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Advancements in hearing aid technology

In recent times, items such as smartphones, tablet computers and smartwatches have become commonplace in a variety of different ways in our lives.

In this regard, hearing aid technology has kept pace with modern life as it is now possible to sync some hearing aids with these devices for a whole host of uses.

As well as streaming sounds from them directly into your ears for a superb listening experience, these modern apps can even help you perform fine adjustments to suit your environment (such as being outdoors, around traffic, in restaurants etc.) to even locating missing hearing aids!

You can even create settings for a certain environment (such as your local pub or café) and then you can select that saved setting the next time you are there.

The exciting thing is that the use of this modern technology means that the potential of what they can do for you can only improve over time. If you want the ultimate in personalised hearing, ask your hearing aid audiologist about smart technology when you have your test.

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How can I learn more about hearing aids at home?

If you would like to learn more about hearing aids in general as well as getting a fantastic overview of what hearing aids are available on the market in today, then request your free copy of The Consumer's Guide To Hearing Aids now.

Simply click on the button below, fill out your details and we will be delighted to post one out to you for FREE.


Do you offer hearing tests?

Yes we do, and they are performed free and with no obligation.

On top of this, we also offer free home hearing tests so you won’t even have to travel because we can come to you!

To learn all about what a hearing test involves and how to book yourself in (which is straightforward), please visit our hearing test page which will explain the process in more detail and also contains a simple form to register your interest with us:

If you would like any further information on hearing aids or to book in any of our free hearing services, please call our dedicated hearing customer service team on 0800 0334 060

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