The aging process happens to everyone, and it comes with issues – such as hearing loss – that are often unavoidable. If you’re sneaking off to another room to avoid conversations, or nodding politely and smiling at the dinner table while hoping you’re looking in the correct direction, it’s time to get a hearing test. The answer to these issues may be hearing aids, but you won’t be wearing the hearing aids of old. Modern hearing aids are discreet devices that contain technology to help you feel younger.
What are you missing?
You may think it’s easy to ask people to speak louder, or talk into your “good ear,” but that doesn’t solve the underlying problem. Imagine your grandchild asking for a snack and you replying, “Well of course you can come back.” That’s a nice sentiment, but it makes for an unhappy child. Now imagine what you’re missing when talking to healthcare providers or listening to driving directions.
The following are degrees of hearing loss as measured by hearing specialists:
- Mild hearing loss – You may not be able to hear someone whisper, “I love you,” and may wonder why your favorite brook has stopped babbling.
- Moderate hearing loss – If you love the sounds of coffee brewing or rain falling, you will miss them if you’re suffering from moderate hearing loss.
- Moderate to severe hearing loss – Individuals with moderate to severe hearing loss can’t hear laughter and the voices of others speaking at regular volumes. Nobody wants that.
Modern hearing aids
There are several types of hearing aids, and none look remotely like the ones you remember from your youth.
- In-the-canal or completely-in-the-canal – These are the smallest hearing aids, which will most likely go unnoticed by those around you.
- In-the-ear – These hearing aids fit in the outer part of your ear, and are much easier to operate than smaller devices.
- Behind-the-ear – These are similar to older hearing aids that rest behind the ear. The casings are much smaller and less noticeable than in the past.
- Behind-the-ear open fitting – These smaller models have clear tubes that run into the ear canals, so they won’t be noticed by others.
- Receiver-in-canal – These hearing aids are similar to open fitting, but use a wire, instead of a tube, to connect to a speaker. These are also hard for other people to spot.
Hearing aid technology
No discussion about modern hearing aids is complete without mentioning the amazing technology currently available. Not only are they virtually invisible, they allow you to do things you wouldn’t have dreamed of in the past. Not all hearing aids have every feature available, so be sure to tell your hearing specialist which features you need to feel younger and improve your quality of life.
The following features are commonly available among modern hearing aids:
- Noise cancellation – This technology helps block background noise, which makes it easier to isolate speech.
- Preprogramming – You can set your hearing aids to help you hear your best in the various environments you experience each day.
- Remote controls – Want to wow your family at Thanksgiving dinner? Pull out the remote control when Uncle John is telling bad jokes. After adjusting your hearing aids, you can groan along with everyone else.
- Audio input – Some hearing aids let you plug directly into your TV, computer, or tablet. Enjoying your favorite shows or music again will make you feel younger.
- Bluetooth® – This technology enables you to connect your hearing aids to a TV or cellphone without using wires. Pair Bluetooth technology with a remote control and your family will never know you turned up the volume on your hearing aids to enjoy the movie with them.
Hearing aids don’t make you seem old, but distancing yourself from family, friends, and your favorite activities might. Talk to a hearing specialist as soon as possible about the hearing aid that’s right for you. You’ll feel younger while enjoying the sounds of birds chirping and children laughing for the first time in years. Remember, 90 percent of hearing aid wearers say they would recommend them to friends.