Hearing impairment or loss and deafness are two different disability categories. The loss of hearing loss that is above 90 decibels is considered deafness while anything below this decibel is hearing loss or impairment.
Hearing loss is categorized to be conductive, sensorineural, and mixed. Hearing aid devices are used by individuals who have conductive hearing loss that stems from the outer or middle ear canal.
Sensorineural and mixed hearing loss affects the inner ear, the central nervous system or a combination of both. Basic hearing loss is tested as slight, mild, moderate, or severe depending on the decibel or frequency that is associated with sound and/or speech.
Common causes of hearing loss and risk factors include the following:
- Damage to the inner ear
- Earwax build-up
- Loud noises
Hearing aid device technology has made major advancements in their use. The construction of hearing aids has not changed much. There are still “behind-the-ear” devices where sound travels from the device, through an earmold, and then into the ear. There are the “in-the-ear” hearing aids that fit inside the outer ear and are used for mild to severe hearing loss.
Wearers enjoy hearing better sounds in environments like public games, churches, schools, and airports. Then there are the “open-fit” hearing aids which are very small and comfortably fit behind the ear featuring a narrow tube that fits inside the ear canal. These hearing aids are used for mild to moderately severe hearing loss.
Near deafness or middle ear issues can be helped with hearing aids that are implantable to one of the bones in the middle ear. The implantable hearing aids help to greatly increase the sound vibrations within the ear.
This hearing device is categorized as an “MEI” or a “middle ear implant.” Instead of amplifying sound waves that travel to the eardrum, a MEI moves the middle ear bones that it is affixed to. Surgery is required to implant these hearing devices.
Hearing aid devices today are smaller and smarter than unlike ever before. Hearing aids today have created louder natural sound amplification and targets the exact sounds you need to hear at the exclusion of unnecessary background noises.
Artificial Intelligence is the reason that the hearing aid industry is helping to improve the lives of the hearing impaired. Artificial intelligence hearing aids are programmed to solve noise issues that plague traditional hearing aids.
The Hearing Industries Association reports that hearing aids designed with Artificial Intelligence can use smart technology to learn your hearing preferences without programming.
For instance, if you go out for dinner at a local restaurant, your Artificial Intelligence hearing aid can automatically learn and remember your desired settings for this environment and adjust to your settings when you next visit a noisy restaurant.
Other amazing artificial intelligence hearing devices feature the ability to monitor your steps and activities. Hearing aids with smart intelligence can also detect if you fall down and with the aid of a smartphone it can even translate different languages into your hearing.
Advanced hearing aid devices are becoming better at connecting to other smart devices like your TV, computer, doorbell, smartphone, and other devices that help the hearing impaired be present and properly alerted.
No matter your age, hearing loss significantly impacts your daily life. Losing your hearing can come on suddenly, gradually, or you are born with hearing difficulties. The most obvious effect of hearing loss is a social impact.
Now, listening to your favorite music is lost, listening to conversations becomes stressful and embarrassing. Not being able to communicate well or participate in social events may lead to our isolating ourselves from others.
Individuals can become anti-social because not hearing well can develop into a social phobia. This type of hearing loss reaction can easily develop into a depression, cognitive decline, and the possibility of dementia symptoms.
For these reasons, hearing aid devices are being created with advanced technology to keep children and adults a part of the world around them rather than their feeling of isolation.
But what does the future hold for hearing assistive devices? For one thing, Bluetooth technology is present and will remain the constant of hearing aids or the next-generation devices. Advanced hearing aids can be controlled with a remote-control feature.