40% of the Indian elderly population experience some form of disability. Hearing loss emerges as a prevalent concern. Many elderly experience presbycusis which is age-related hearing loss. This blog will be a comprehensive guide to selecting the right hearing aid for elderly in India.
We delve into the key considerations and options available. Discover how to empower your loved ones with the perfect hearing aid solution to enhance their quality of life.
What is a hearing aid?
A hearing aid is a compact electronic device designed to amplify and enhance sound for individuals with hearing loss. One can wear it in or behind the ear to perceive and understand sounds more clearly. It helps in improving communication and quality of life for individuals with hearing loss. They can engage more actively in daily life and feel more confident in their decision-making.
Signs of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss often occurs gradually, making it easy to overlook the early signs. Hence, it is crucial to seek professional help as soon as you notice any changes in your hearing. Early intervention significantly improves the effectiveness of treatment.
Common signs of hearing loss are as follows:
- Difficulty understanding conversations, especially in crowded or noisy environments
- Frequently asking others to speak louder or repeat themselves
- Struggling to hear high-pitched sounds, such as doorbells or phone rings
- Feeling the need to increase the volume of the television or radio
- Having trouble following conversations over the phone
- Avoiding social situations or withdrawing from group conversations
- Experiencing tinnitus, i. e. ringing or buzzing sensations in the ears
- Noticing a decrease in clarity and quality of sound perception
- Feeling fatigued or drained after prolonged listening efforts, known as listening fatigue
- Sensitivity to certain sounds, perceiving them as excessively loud, known as “recruitment”
- Feeling a general sense of unsteadiness or imbalance
How can hearing aids help seniors?
The use of hearing aid for elderly in India and around the world has resulted in improved health outcomes and enhanced well-being. Beyond their primary function of restoring hearing, hearing aids offer seniors many health benefits.
Enhanced cognitive function and reduced risk of dementia
Hearing aids help maintain an active and engaged brain by improving communication and social interactions. An active brain positive has a positive impact on cognitive function and reduces the risk of dementia.
Decreased feelings of depression and isolation
The elderly can regain the ability to actively engage in conversations and enjoy social interactions. The restoration of clear communication helps combat feelings of isolation and depression.
Even mild hearing loss can increase the risk of falls among the elderly. Studies have shown that the risk of falling escalates by 140% with every additional 10 decibels of hearing loss.
Increased independence and confidence in daily activities
With improved hearing, the elderly can regain control over their lives and face the world. This newfound
independence not only enhances their quality of life but also boosts their confidence.
What is hearing loss and how can ear solutions help?
Hearing loss is a common condition that affects the ability to perceive sounds. It can occur due to various factors, including aging, exposure to loud noise, certain medical conditions, and genetics.
Age-related hearing loss, also called presbycusis, is a common form of sensorineural hearing loss. It occurs gradually as we age, and it affects the inner hair cells in our ears. These hair cells, responsible for transmitting sound signals to the brain, deteriorate over time and permanently cease to function.
Treatment of hearing loss depends on the cause and severity of the problem. From hearing aids to specialized treatments, various ear solutions can improve hearing abilities. Let’s explore:
Hearing aids for elderly in India and the rest of the world emerge as the standard treatment option for sensorineural hearing loss. Hearing aids do not cure or restore hearing to its original state. Their primary purpose is to amplify sound in specific frequency ranges that individuals may struggle to hear.
For individuals who do not benefit enough from hearing aids, cochlear implants may be recommended. Cochlear implant surgery stimulates the auditory nerve, enabling better hearing perception.
Assistive Listening Devices
Technology devices that help individuals hear in noisy situations or from a distance.
What is the mechanism of working of a hearing aid?
The key parts of a hearing aid are a microphone, an amplifier, and a speaker. It captures sounds using a built-in microphone, which converts them into electrical signals. The hearing aid's circuitry processes and amplifies these signals, making them more audible and clearer. The amplified sound is sent to the ear through a speaker or receiver.
Hearing aids run on batteries. Some use traditional disposable batteries, but modern hearing aids have built-in rechargeable batteries. This means you can recharge your hearing aids, like you charge a laptop or a smartphone. Rechargeable options offer greater convenience sans frequent battery replacement hassles.
How can I find out if I need a hearing aid?
If you experience any signs of hearing loss, it's advisable to consult a hearing healthcare professional. Physicians who treat hearing loss are known as otolaryngologists and neurotologists. More popularly, they are known as ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialists. They will conduct a thorough evaluation and identify the cause of the condition.
An audiologist will conduct diagnostic testing to evaluate the extent of your hearing loss. Whether hearing aids or other assistive devices, they can help you find the right ear solution to address your hearing needs.
Are there different styles of hearing aids?
Various styles offer options for specific hearing needs and best suit the user’s lifestyle. These are:
These hearing aids rest behind the ear and connect to a custom earpiece that delivers sound to the ear. They are suitable for various degrees of hearing loss. Often offer additional features like directional microphones and telecoil technology.
ITE hearing aids are custom-made to fit within the outer ear. They are more visible than BTE models but offer convenient features like volume control and telecoil.
These hearing aids fit partially within the ear canal, making them discreet and less visible. They are custom-made and suitable for mild-to-moderate hearing loss.
These hearing aids have a small device behind the ear with a receiver or speaker in the ear canal. This design allows for a more natural sound perception and is suitable for various degrees of hearing loss.
IIC hearing aids sit deep within the ear canal, making them virtually invisible from the outside. They are custom-made and suitable for mild-to-moderate hearing loss.
Do all hearing aids work the same way?
No, not all hearing aids work the same way. The technology and design can vary, including differences in how they process and amplify sound. The two main types of electronics used in hearing aids are analog and digital.
Analog hearing aids amplify sound in a continuous analog signal. They offer less customization and have limited processing capabilities.
Digital hearing aids convert sound into digital signals. They allow for advanced processing features such as noise reduction and directional microphones.
When it comes to hearing aid for elderly in India, digital hearing aids are more commonly used due to their advanced processing capabilities.
Which hearing aid will work best for me?
Determining the best hearing aid for you requires a thorough evaluation by a qualified audiologist. An audiologist will consider factors such as your degree of hearing loss, lifestyle, and personal preferences.
Price is an important consideration too. Yet, the priceless joy of a clear hearing outweighs any price tag.
What questions should I ask before buying or renting a hearing aid?
Here are some key inquiries to make an informed decision:
- How does the technology in the hearing aid work?
- What features does it offer?
- Will the hearing aid suit my lifestyle and daily activities?
- What is the expected lifespan of the hearing aid?
- What is the cost and are there any financing options available?
- What are the warranty and post-purchase support?
- Can I have a trial period or demo of the hearing aid before purchasing?
- How often will the hearing aid require maintenance or adjustments?
- Are there any additional accessories available?
- What is the duration of the return policy?
How can I adjust to my hearing aid?
Adjusting to a hearing aid is a gradual process, but with time and patience, you can optimize your
experience. Here are some tips to help you:
- Start by wearing your hearing aid in a quiet setting to get accustomed to the amplified sounds. Expose yourself to different environments over time for adaptability
- Consistent use will allow your brain to adapt and adjust to the new sounds
- Set the volume at a comfortable level initially. Increase it over time as you become accustomed to the amplified sounds
- Engage in conversations and actively focus on listening
- Seek professional support for guidance and any necessary fine-tuning of your hearing aid settings
How can I care for my hearing aid?
Proper care and maintenance of your hearing aid are essential for its optimal performance and
longevity. Here are some guidelines to help you:
- Regularly clean your hearing aid using a soft, dry cloth to remove any earwax or debris. Avoid using water or cleaning agents unless recommended
- When not in use, store your hearing aid in a protective case or a dry, cool place. This helps prevent moisture damage and protects it from heat and dust
- Remove your hearing aid before showering, swimming, or engaging in water activities
- Replace the batteries as needed, following the instruction manual
- Visit your audiologist for regular check-ups and maintenance
Features of an Ideal Hearing Aid
With technological advancements, today's hearing aids offer a range of features to enhance the listening
experience. Here are some key features:
Digital Signal Processing
Analyzes and adjusts sounds in real-time, delivering clearer and more natural sound quality.
Precise adjustment of different frequency ranges allows for customized amplification tailored to individual hearing needs.
Focuses on sounds from the front, minimizing distractions from other directions. Improves speech understanding in noisy environments.
Integrated algorithms reduce background noise, enhancing speech clarity and focus.
Built-in technology suppresses annoying feedback or whistling sounds.
Bluetooth technology for seamless streaming from devices.
Convenient and environment-friendly, eliminating the need for frequent battery replacements.
Connects with loop systems in public venues for improved hearing in specific environments.
Different listening settings like music, outdoors, or noisy environments, provide tailored experiences.
Control and customize settings, adjust volume, and locate lost hearing aids through dedicated smartphone apps.
Consequences of untreated hearing loss
The impact of hearing loss isn’t a health issue only. It affects the quality of life too. Research indicates that untreated hearing loss poses more serious health threats than we could ever imagine.
- Increased risk of cognitive decline including conditions like dementia and Alzheimer's disease
- Communication breakdowns lead to feelings of isolation, anxiety, and depression
- Difficulty hearing important auditory cues, such as alarms, or warnings, can increase safety risks and falls
- Can strain relationships with family members, friends, and colleagues, as effective communication may become compromised
When considering a hearing aid for elderly in India, it's important to consider various factors to ensure the best choice. Trust Senocare for holistic eldercare expertise and solutions at home. Call us at +91 8800 700 100 or email [email protected] for more details.