There are many options for those who have hearing loss, whether it be minor or profound. While it will feel daunting at first, it is likely that you will discover many avenues upon which you can build your life back up to a semblance of your previous normalcy.
MINOR HEARING LOSS
Often we are left to our own devices when we must figure out what to do to adapt to the minor hearing loss we’ve been diagnosed with. Some of us have decreased hearing in one or both ears, others lost hearing in only one ear but hear well in the other, and still others have a mixture of the two. And there are many options for all of us with all of these diagnoses.
A hearing aid is a simple device with advanced technology inside. For many of us that are Hard of Hearing, with slightly decreased ability to hear, it suffices and is usually an easy decision to arrive at. There are many manufacturers of hearing aids so there is no shortage to choose from. It works by boosting the sound around you with a built-in microphone and channelling it into your ear canal. Simple and effective.
SEVERE HEARING LOSS
For those with more severe hearing loss, including those of us with deafness in one ear, a Bone Anchored Hearing Aid (BAHA) may be the way to go.
Unlike a traditional hearing aid, this device requires surgery and comes in two parts. The implanting of the internal portion takes sound brought in by the speech processor (the external portion) directly to the inner ear and uses the body’s natural ability to conduct sound. The speech processor is anchored to the head behind the ear by a screwed attachment.
It is truly an innovative piece of technology.
The Cochlear Implant is generally for those of us with profound deafness, typically in both ears. It works by connecting to the auditory nerve and the main processor is laced between the skull and akin of your scalp. The external sound processor draws in, amplifies, and digitizes sound through built-in microphones and sends them through a wired magnetic coil. The information passes through the skin to the implant under it and sends it to the auditory nerve which, then, sends it to the brain for interpretation.
Unfortunately, some insurance companies will not allow or pay for dual implants as they are “experimental”.
The choice to get a CI is a very personal decision that cannot be made lightly. Not only will it destroy any level of hearing left in your ear(s), but is, like all surgeries, a risk.
That said, there are mainly two companies vying for you to choose them: Cochlear, Limited and Advanced Bionics. Both are comparable in terms of ability and features and come with warranties. Both have water resistant accessories available as well as external microphones. There are also exclusive accessories that the other doesn’t have an equal for but may make up for it in features it has built-in.
Hybrid Hearing is a relatively new concept and is being brought almost exclusively by Cochlear, Limited. It combines a Cochlear Implant/Sound Processor and a hearing aid to help you capture both high and low pitch sounds. The Nucleus 6 sound processor’s accessories all work with this new hybrid device.
As you can see, the options to regain some hearing back are plentiful. As usual, this is just the tip of the iceberg and it pays to do your due diligence and educate yourself on all aspects of these technologies; their pros and cons. Below are a few links to get you started.
“In life, risk is part of the equation… “