What is Hearing Loss? Oh, and What can be Done About It?

“I can hear, but I can’t understand.” “I’m wearing my hearing aids, but I am still having trouble in a restaurant.”  Do these statements sound familiar to you?

Hearing loss is often a rather complex biological issue, involving the proper function of many anatomical parts. Most people think they hear only from their ears, but such an understanding only acknowledges one aspect of our “hearing system.” Certainly, sound does enter through our ears, but we actually understand the meaning of these sounds via the use of the processing power of our brains.

When audiologists evaluate you for a hearing loss, we are looking at more than just a loss of your ability to detect sound. We are also looking at how well you understand speech in different environments, and whether there is any distortion in your hearing “system.” We do our best to evaluate how well you are able to process sound, both in quiet and increasingly louder background noise environments. These evaluations then relate to higher level hearing function, including cognition and memory. In fact, this information often tends to be the most important.

Hearing aids are certainly capable of amplifying sounds (making them louder), and they are also capable of adding clarity. However, sometimes you may find that you are hearing, but just not always understanding speech clearly. This may occur if there is a lot of distortion and damage in the ear, therefore the brain may receive a degraded signal. This is where different levels of available technology can really come into play. Your audiologist will evaluate your hearing, along with your lifestyle and hearing needs to assist you in choosing the most appropriate level of technology for you and your hearing loss. Having realistic expectations of your ability to hear while wearing hearing aids is another key components to your success with amplification. Your audiologist will help lay out what you can realistically expect for your particular hearing loss during your visit.

Over the last several years hearing aids have become smaller and smarter, but they are still unable to replace your own natural hearing. Yes, amplification technology has progressed in many exciting ways, and not just in the hearing aids themselves. In addition to improved performance in background noise and better speech clarity, the newest hearing aids are able to directly stream sound from your cell phone, television and remote microphones. Through the use of different small accessories, sounds can stream directly into your hearing aids, giving you more flexibility in the many environments that fit your lifestyle.

At Audiological Consultants of Atlanta, we are committed to educating and working with you to find the most personalized hearing solutions for your lifestyle so you can take advantage of everything better communication provides!

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