Did You Hear About the New Developments in Auditory Health Technology?
Hearing loss affects a profound percentage of the population at some point or other. Changes can be temporary or permanent. They can also take place suddenly or over a gradual period of time. Regardless, the loss of hearing or changes in your ability to listen can have huge effects on your life, and you never know when it might take you by surprise.
Common symptoms of auditory loss include having the volume turned up too high on devices and not realising until someone with good hearing points it out, misunderstanding what others are saying to you, asking people to repeat themselves regularly, or having to concentrate and focus intensely on what people are saying in order to gather the information that they are putting across. If you do begin to experience any of these symptoms, however, don’t despair. There are plenty of brilliant developments taking place in the field of auditory health. Here are a few to bear in mind.
The clue is in the name when it comes to hearing tests: they are tests used to determine whether you are able to hear and, if so, to what extent. They can also be used to monitor any changes in your auditory health as time goes on. Most children have routine hearing tests as they are developing. However, your average adult will generally not have one unless they notice significant changes in their hearing themselves and seek professional help. GPs and nurses can examine your ears, but if you are experiencing hearing loss, it is likely that you will be referred on to a specialist. The test will generally start with automated otoacoustic emissions (AOAE).
This sounds complex, but it is actually just a computer that is attached to an earpiece and plays clicking sounds while measuring the response from the ear. Another test you may experience is an automated auditory brainstem response test (commonly referred to as an AABR). This involves sensors being placed on your head and neck to check the response of your nerves to sounds played through headphones. A third part of the test is known as a pure tone audiometry test. This consists of sounds being played at different volumes and frequencies. You are required to press a button when they are heard. A final aspect of the test may be a bone conduction test. Don’t worry, this is less scary than it sounds. A vibrating noise generator is attached behind the ear and presses the bone to test how well your hearing nerves work. The results to all of these tests are plotted on an audiogram, which then helps professional audiologists to identify the source and cause of your hearing problems.
Hearing aids have come a long way since the original, bulky designs. Nowadays, they’re much smaller and much more discreet. Consider designs such as in-the-ear aids, invisible-in-the-canal aids, and completely-in-the-canal aids. For less invasive options you have behind-the-ear aids, mini behind-the-ear aids, and behind-the-ear aids with earmolds. What’s more? As well as looking great, they work better too! While hearing aids may not make your hearing perfect, they will make sounds much clearer and louder, causing your hearing loss to have less of a detrimental impact on your life. If you find that you do need a hearing aid, have a consultation before purchasing anything. You may find that you can try out a few different types before selecting the ideal one for you and your needs.
Telecare is an innovation that essentially means that you have a doctor at home. You no longer have to leave the house to have a consultation. Instead, you can simply get in touch with a professional through the phone or perhaps (if you are unable to hear on the phone), online through a form of chat messenger. This creates a whole new mode of contact for those with hearing loss and their health professionals. There are also currently new apps in development that mean people can get in touch with health professionals and have their hearing aids adjusted without stepping foot out of the door. If you’d like an example, take a look at Signia’s myHearing app. We may be in the early stages of telecare, however, it’s a good indication of brilliant things to come in the future.
As you can see, technology is constantly improving the experience of those with hearing difficulties. From the way we identify issues to the solutions that we can offer to help!
Image Credit: People