How Are the New Digital Hearing Aids Different From the Old-Fashioned Ones?
Hearing loss is a very common problem at every stage of life, affecting millions of people. It generates a range of associated problems like difficulties at work and school, withdrawal from social life, and even hazards in everyday life. Despite the problems, people have been reluctant to seek help and to wear hearing aids even when they own them. This is largely due to clunky, inefficient models that were common in the past. New affordable digital hearing aids are completely different – they’re lightweight, nearly invisible, and work efficiently without producing static and background noise.
The prevalence of hearing loss
Loss of hearing is a common problem at all ages. A small proportion – 2 or 3 out of every thousand – of babies are born in the U.S. with detectable hearing problems in one or both ears. As many as 15% of Americans in the age range of 20 to 69 years suffer from high frequency hearing loss due to the loud noises they encounter in their work or leisure environments. This amounts to around 26 million people.
About 50 million people in the U.S. are affected by tinnitus or ringing ears. Hearing problems and hearing loss can be caused by loud noises in the workplace such as construction sites. Certain features of urban life such as subway and traffic noises and sirens can also lead to hearing loss.
Problems associated with hearing loss
For children, even mild hearing loss can lead to learning problems. It can cause them to miss out as much as half of the classroom discussion. It leads to shyness and loss of confidence, making it harder for kids to make friends and play sports.
For adults, it is estimated that the lifetime costs of profound hearing loss for an individual can be as high as $1 million in the U.S. Worldwide, hearing loss is the 2nd most prevalent health issue, ahead of Parkinson?s, epilepsy, Alzheimer?s and diabetes combined.
Reluctance to seek treatment
Why are people so reluctant to seek treatment for hearing loss? The uncomfortable, noisy, old-style hearing aids were very inconvenient. They were uncomfortable, and difficult to control. They didn’t work too well, and produced odd bursts of static and hissing noises in the background which further disoriented the wearer.
Because of these problems, people have been reluctant to wear hearing aids. Only one out of three adults over 70 years of age who could benefit from hearing aids actually uses them. For the 20 to 69 age group, the percentage of people with hearing loss who choose to wear hearing aids is even lower, at around 16%.
All of this means that as many as 15 million people in the country tend to avoid seeking help with their hearing. In fact people undergoing hearing loss wait for as long as 7 years on average before deciding that they need to seek help.
New affordable digital hearing aids
The new generation of affordable digital hearing aids are completely different. They are lightweight, comfortable to wear and almost invisible. There’s no static or background noise, and the settings are optimized for the wearer individually. Besides, they can be connected wirelessly to telephones, TVs and computers, giving the wearer back the connections to the world that they had lost when affected by hearing loss.
Especially for the older generation in their 80s and 90s, the new hearing aids are a revelation. They can now speak on the phone to their family members and friends far away. Digital hearing aids and assistive hearing devices help them to reconnect to the world of sound, by making news, music and entertainment available to them again.
Along with affordable digital hearing aids, audiology professionals provide services such as:
- Hearing aid tests
- Hearing aid fittings
- Hearing aid repair
- Assistive listening devices
- Custom hearing protection
- Musician monitors
The world of hearing loss can be lonely, disorienting and even dangerous. New digital aids help people with hearing loss by restoring their connection to the world and their families and friends.