Hearing aids are small devices that are inserted into the ear hearing loss and the associated symptoms. They cannot treat hearing loss but can make life much more manageable by boosting sound levels. This makes it easier to hear conversations, music, and entertainment.
Hearing aids can also help increase socialization, as well as boost mood and lower rates of depression. They can make people more confident, making them more likely to leave the house and exercise. Additionally, hearing aids can help improve performance at work, boosting income levels. They also make music and entertainment much more enjoyable, which can lead to a significant increase in the quality of life.
Hearing aids do have some side effects, especially in the first few months of use. User may experience some skin irritation as they adjust to the aids, as well as headaches and ringing in the ears. It can also take the brain some time to adapt to the higher noise levels. However, these side effects tend to go away with prolonged use.
1Hearing aids can increase socialization. As people age, they often suffer from hearing loss. This makes it more difficult to engage in conversations, as it can be hard to understand what people are saying. This can lead to frustration and confusion, as well as anxiety about not being able to participate. As a result, many people will spend less time around other people, or not engage in conversations (1).
Hearing aids make it easier for people with hearing loss to socialize and engage with other people. Since fewer words are missed, following conversations is much less difficult. Increased socialization boosts mood and lowers levels of depression. Research has also shown that socialization and conversation are important for preventing dementia (2).
2Hearing aids can help you enjoy music. For many people, a reduced ability to enjoy music is one of the most devastating side effects of hearing loss. Many people will try to increase the volume to make up for this, which can actually make hearing loss worse.
Hearing aids can restore a broader range of sounds, allowing those with hearing loss to pick up on subtle notes and rhythms that were previously lost to them. Hearing loss is linked to depression, as people often cannot participate in activities that they enjoy. For those who love music, hearing aids may be able to help prevent depression and boost mood.
3Hearing aids can slow age-related cognitive decline. A 2018 meta-analysis involving 11 studies showed that hearing loss could also lead to cognitive decline (3).
Conversation is important for maintaining cognition and can help keep people sharp. When people cannot hear, it is much more difficult to socialize and engage in conversation. When people cannot hear, the part of the brain that is responsible for processing sounds will begin to atrophy. This can speed up cognitive decline and may also cause dementia (4).
Hearing aids can help prevent this atrophy by making it easier for those with hearing loss to socialize and interact with other people. It also makes it more likely that people will listen to music and watch movies; stimulation which, can also help slow age-related cognitive decline.
4Hearing aids can reduce ringing from tinnitus. Tinnitus is a symptom related to hearing loss where a loud ringing noise is heard. This ringing, in addition to causing irritation, can be painful and make it even harder to hear. It can also cause headaches and make it difficult to sleep.
Hearing aids can help reduce tinnitus and prevent ringing in the ears. There are also specially designed hearing aids that have added features to deal with loud ringing (5).
5Hearing aids can improve quality of life. Hearing loss can significantly impact your ability to carry out day to day activities. It can also increase isolation and make people less likely to leave the house. Hearing aids can significantly boost quality of life, making it easier to engage in activities that you enjoy. They make it easier to watch movies, follow conversations, make new friends, and perform well at work. All this combined boosts confidence and makes life more enjoyable (6).
6Hearing aids can boost income. Hearing loss is common among people still working, and it can have a significant impact on income. Without being able to hear properly, performance may suffer, and people are more likely to lose their job.
Hearing aids can boost earning power by making it easier to carry out day to day tasks at work. Since socialization and conversation are less difficult, people find it easier to engage with coworkers. Mistakes are also less likely, making it easier to hold onto a job.
Many people will retire because they feel they can no longer hear well enough to continue working. Hearing aids can allow people to work longer and retire when they are ready.
7Hearing aids improve concentration. The inability to hear can severely impact focus and concentration. It is difficult to follow conversations, watch movies or the news, or listen to music when only some of the sounds can be heard. People with hearing loss are often less focused and find it difficult to concentrate as a result.
Hearing aids can boost concentration by making it easier to focus on the things around you (7).
You don’t have to strain so much to hear, so you can focus your attention on the conversation.
8Hearing aids raise energy levels. Constantly straining to make out sounds and follow conversations can be exhausting. People with hearing loss are more likely to feel fatigued and have low energy levels (8).
They are also more likely to be depressed, which can sap energy and increase tiredness. Hearing aids may be able to significantly lower rates of depression, as well as boost energy levels. People with hearing aids are more likely to go out and spend time with other people rather than stay in alone, which can also have a positive impact on mood and energy.
9Hearing aids can help with mental health. Rates of mental illnesses are higher for those with hearing loss. Isolation can increase rates of depression, and hearing loss may also make people more anxious (9).
People often worry that they are missing out on the life around them, and this can cause frustration and anger. A hearing aid can make it easier to increase social contact and avoid loneliness, lowering rates of depression in the elderly. It can also reduce anxiety and frustration, making it easier to engage with people and with the outside world.
They also help boost confidence, making people feel more engaged and lively when interacting with other people. People often say they feel like their old selves again, which can increase happiness and lower the chances of becoming depressed.
10Hearing aids increase exercise levels. Many people with hearing loss are less likely to go outside, fearing that they cannot navigate the world. This social fear and anxiety, in addition to increasing rates of depression, can also have a negative impact on physical health.
By making people more confident and social, hearing aids increase rates of exercise, helping maintain a healthy body.
11Hearing aids can help with confusion. Hearing loss can often leave people feeling confused. It can make it difficult to localize sound, as the ears aren’t able to pick up subtle details. When someone asks a question, they may not be able to tell where the voice is coming from.
A 1998 study showed that hearing aids could help reduce confusion and make it easier to track where sounds come from (10).
This also makes living alone much safer, as any disturbance around the house can be heard, as well as smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.
12Hearing aids can improve hearing in noisy areas. People with hearing loss often struggle to make out voices in loud areas. This means it can be difficult to follow conversations when there are multiple people speaking at once.
With a hearing aid, background noise is significantly reduced. This makes it much easier to focus on sounds and understand what people are saying as they speak in noisy areas (11).
13Hearing aids can increase independence. Hearing loss can have a significant impact on the ability to carry out daily activities. People who live alone may be more likely to isolate themselves if they have trouble hearing. They leave the house less and tend to be less physically active. Hearing loss also makes it difficult to look after a house without help (12).
Hearing aids can help keep people independent by making it easier for them to manage their own life. With aids, it’s much easier to shop, socialize, and manage a house.
1Some users will experience discomfort and skin irritation, as well as feedback that can cause headaches (13). The worst side effects tend to come in the first few months of use, as your brain adapts to the increased levels of sound. Skin irritation tends to be worse when first using the device, and many users may get occasional headaches as they adapt to the new sound levels.
2You may also experience discomfort for the first few days as you adjust to having a device placed in your ear. Although this usually passes with time, you should speak to your audiologist if discomfort persists, as they may need to resize the hearing aids. They may also determine that you should use a different type of hearing aid.
3It can take time to find the proper sound levels with your hearing aid. There may also be audio feedback, which can cause a loud ringing sound. For some users, feedback can cause chronic tinnitus, which is a loud ringing noise in the ears that won’t go away. If you experience tinnitus, you should speak to your doctor.
The type of hearing aid that you will need will vary depending on the cause of your hearing loss. The best way of getting the right hearing aid is to visit an audiologist. They specialize in hearing loss and can help diagnose the cause of your hearing problem. Once they know what type of hearing loss you have, they can fit you for the right kind of aid.
Hearing aids will often emit feedback when first using, and may take some adjustments to find the proper volume.
Most hearing aids are designed to be water-resistant. However, they are not waterproof, and they will stop working if fully submerged in water for long periods. Avoid showering with hearing aids, and never swim with them.
Hearing aids require a significant amount of power, so batteries need to be replaced frequently. Most hearing aids use zinc-air batteries, which will last anywhere from 3-20 days. Always be sure to have plenty of batteries on hand.
How long will hearing aids last? Most hearing aids have a lifespan of around 4-7 years, although this can vary depending on the type. Behind the ear hearing aids tend to last a few years longer than in-ear aids. Most manufacturers give you a 1-2 year warranty with the hearing aids.
Will hearing aids help all types of hearing loss? Most types of hearing loss can at least be partially treated with hearing aids. However, the same type of hearing aid may not work for different types of hearing loss.
Hearing loss that is caused by an obstruction in the ear canal or middle ear cavity may not require a hearing aid. Rather, your doctor will often try to remove the obstruction to improve hearing.
Sensorineural hearing loss, the most common type, can usually be improved with hearing aids. With sensorineural hearing loss, the small hairs in the ear that process sound are damaged. Hearing aids boost volume to overcome this deficit, allowing you to hear a wider range of sound.
Will hearing aids fully restore hearing? In most cases, no. Hearing aids cannot fully restore hearing but can make it significantly easier to make out sounds. They also cannot stop the progression of hearing loss, as they do not treat the underlying cause.
Are hearing aids waterproof? No hearing aids are not water proof. Hearing aids are designed to be kept dry, and will not function properly if exposed to moisture. However, most hearing aids are somewhat water resistant, and will still work if some water gets on them. Hearing aids should be removed before showering, and should under no circumstances be worn while swimming. Many warranties will not cover water damage, so you could be responsible for paying the full cost of replacements.
How much do hearing aids cost? Hearing aids can be a significant investment. Prices are generally around $1000 and can cost upwards of $5000 for more specialized aids. The price you pay will largely be determined by the features that you need. Basic hearing aids can be found for a few hundred dollars, but they are limited in how much they can do, and won’t help with more severe cases of hearing loss. Some insurance plans may cover part of the cost of hearing aids, although coverage varies widely between plans.
Will Medicare cover hearing aids? In most cases, no. Medicare Part B will cover up to 80% of the cost of diagnostic tests for hearing loss. However, it will not cover any portion of hearing aids. The Medicare Supplement plans will also not pay for hearing aids.
The few exceptions are for people who have a medical condition such as vertigo. In these cases, Medicare may pay for hearing aids as a treatment for the condition.
How noticeable are hearing aids? This will vary widely depending on the hearing aid. However, there are many options designed to be nearly invisible. These hearing aids sit deep in the ear canal, making them hard to detect.
Many hearing aids also come in tones that match your skin, making them much less noticeable.
How can hearing loss affect learning? Hearing ability is critical to speech and language development, communication, and learning. Hearing loss causes delays in the development of speech and language, and those delays then lead to learning problems, often resulting in poor school performance.
How long do hearing aid batteries last? Battery life will vary widely by type of hearing aid and use. Most hearing aid batteries will last between 3 and 20 days.
Do hearing aids really help? Hearing aids can’t restore normal hearing. They can improve your hearing by amplifying soft sounds, helping you hear sounds that you’ve had trouble hearing.
Can a hearing aid damage your hearing? It’s true that powerful sounds played directly next to your eardrum can damage your ears and your hearing (such as loud music played through headphones). However, if you have hearing loss, the volume of well-fit hearing aids won’t be loud enough to do harm.
How does hearing loss affect behavior? Many people with hearing loss experience a drop in self-esteem and confidence because of their impaired ability to communicate with other people. Having hearing loss can also limit one’s ability to learn to speak a new language. Hearing loss refers to reduced hearing, which can be caused by a variety of factors.
How long does it take for your brain to adjust to a hearing aid? Focus on your improvement, and remember the learning curve can take anywhere from six weeks to six months. Success comes from practice and commitment. When you first begin to use hearing aids, your brain will be startled to receive signals it has been missing.
Can you wear a hearing aid on a plane? There are currently no restrictions which will allow you to wear your hearing aids or cochlear implants on a plane, even with wireless technology. However, if you also use an additional FM assistive listening device, that should be turned off during the flight.
What happens if you don’t wear your hearing aid? If you don’t wear hearing aids your ability to hear won’t necessarily get worse, but your discrimination of speech is likely to get worse faster than if you were to wear hearing aids. This may affect other mental faculties as a result.
Can a hearing aid make tinnitus worse? Hearing aids allow wearers to hear sound they might be missing, which can effectively mask a lot of the tinnitus ringing. This may cause a reduction in tinnitus symptoms. Hearing aids also have volume controls which could allow users to make their environmental sounds louder than their tinnitus.
Does hearing loss affect the brain? In those with hearing loss, the compensatory adaptation system significantly reduces the brain’s ability to process sound, which in turn affects a person’s ability to understand speech. Even with mild hearing loss, the hearing areas of the brain become weaker.
Hearing aids are an effective tool for reducing the symptoms of age-related hearing loss. Although they cannot treat the underlying cause of hearing loss, they can make it easier to make out sounds and lead a normal life.
Hearing aids, in addition to their auditory benefits, also improve the quality of life in a wide range of other areas. They can help reduce loneliness and increase levels of socialization. They also help lower rates of depression and anxiety among elderly people.
Furthermore, hearing aids can help improve performance at work, making it easier to carry out day to day tasks and engage with coworkers. They can also boost the quality of life by making movies, music, and socialization more enjoyable.
Hearing aids have few significant side effects and are safe when used properly. However, they can cause skin irritation and discomfort, especially when you first start using them. They can also cause headaches and ear ringing. Most of these symptoms will improve with time. If they do not, speak to your doctor.