Which are the Best Hearing Aids for Severe Loss of Hearing?
Loss of hearing is a condition that affects around 30 million Americans. While we tend to associate it with getting older, it can affect us at any time of our lives, and it can be exacerbated by degenerative conditions like Meniere’s Disease and hypertension. There’s even compelling evidence to suggest that conditions like diabetes can also affect hearing loss. While hearing loss has many causes, it tends to develop very slowly over a period of years or even decades. Indeed, it’s quite common for those with hearing loss to not even be aware of it for a very long time. By the time the signs add up; like complaints from neighbors about the TV being on too loud or struggling to follow conversations in busy restaurants, bars or cafes, your hearing loss may already have become quite severe.
The good news is that even when your hearing loss reaches this point, your audiologist can help.
What constitutes severe loss of hearing?
Severe loss of hearing is the inability to hear sounds over 70 decibels clearly. For reference, the sound of a humming refrigerator is around 50dB while a normal conversation is typically around 60dB. The sound of a car engine is around 70dB while a truck’s engine is around 80dB.
If you feel that normal conversations are hard to follow, and you often find that you must ask people to repeat themselves even in quiet spaces, your hearing loss may already be severe.
Can a hearing aid help people affected by severe hearing loss?
Yes, absolutely! The past two decades have seen great advances in hearing aid technology with the advent of new digital capabilities. Hearing aids are typically not only smaller and more discrete but more powerful with better capabilities. However, not all hearing aids are created equal. If you have severe hearing loss, you’ll need to be discerning in the models you choose.
What features: capabilities should I look for if I have severe hearing loss?
While we wouldn’t want to limit you to a particular make or model of hearing instrument, there are certain features and capabilities that you should look for in a hearing aid which will make it well suited to severe hearing loss. These include:
Choose a BTE hearing aid
By rule of thumb, behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids are more powerful than the in-the-ear (ITE) counterparts. As such, it’s likely that those with severe loss of hearing will benefit more from an BTE hearing instrument. Fortunately, these have gotten a lot more discrete in recent years, so you don’t have to sacrifice performance for discretion.
High gain and output
You may see hearing aids which are billed as having higher gain and output. These are just industry terms which mean that it’s capable of greater amplification than other models. This is important. Some models can struggle with high levels of amplification and may result in distracting feedback when worn, not to mention failing to give you the clarity of hearing you need.
Some hearing aids are designed to isolate and enhance the sound patterns of human speech helping wearers to follow conversations even in areas with a lot of background noise. This is very important for those with a severe loss of hearing. Some models also come with a companion wireless microphone which can further clarify speech for the wearer by up to 60%.
Robust high-frequency capabilities
Most of us tend to lose our higher frequencies first which is why people with severe hearing loss tend to find it harder to understand women and children in conversation. Look for a model which provides robust amplification of higher frequencies.
A good fit is essential for good sound. Loose fitting hearing aids can result in sound leaking and greater chances of irritating feedback. Look for a hearing aid which offers a custom fit so your audiologist can mold it to the exact shape of your ear canal.
Wireless connectivity and assistive technology
Many of today’s hearing aids are built with wireless connectivity and clever assistive technologies that make it easy to pair your hearing aid with your smartphone or your TV. This means you can enjoy the media you love with better clarity without needing to annoy your neighbors.
How our team of audiologists can help
At Peninsula Hearing, we’re passionate about helping those with severe loss of hearing find the perfect solutions for their needs and budget. Our team of skilled audiologists will work with you to accurately determine the cause and extent of your hearing loss and help you to choose and calibrate a hearing aid that perfectly matches your needs, lifestyle and budget.
Want to know more about the services we offer? Contact us today at 360-697-3061 for Poulsbo and 360-379-5458 for Port Townsend.