Typical Hearing Loss Treatments
Restoring audibility is most commonly done with hearing devices, such as hearing aids or in cases where hearing aids can’t help anymore, cochlear implants.
The technical specifications and product quality of hearing aids used is critical for long-term hearing loss treatment.
Modern hearing aids have two main functions, to restore audibility over as wide a frequency and dynamic range as possible, and to manage background noise to help people who due to central auditory deprivation effects are unable to listen in noise.
Adults - who typically wait 7 – 15 years from the onset of hearing loss until seeking treatment, typically suffer from central auditory deprivation which manifests itself in the inability hear in, or filter out useful information from background noise. This ability is an acquired skill but as hearing is reduced and many frequencies and noises disappear, this ability is typically forgotten.
That’s why special attention in hearing instrument selection and hearing loss treatment must be given to each individual’s ability to hear and process useful information in the presence of background noise.
Thankfully there are many hearing aid technologies available today which filter out noise from the signal and provide a cleaner and easier to process signal to the patient.
Finding the right solution to a patients hearing loss
This process begins with an initial hearing assessment. Special noise acceptance tests needs to done to establish the patients ability to deal with noise, and to know how much of noise reduction technology will be necessary to make the treatment with hearing aids successful.
Actual treatment and hearing aid selection and programming is a long-term ongoing process which is based on the audiogram data to establish how to provide appropriate audibility at all frequencies and how much and how sophisticated noise cleaning technology and auditory therapy a particular patient requires.
Because the patient’s auditory system is not used to hearing all sounds at normal levels, they must be introduced gradually at an individual pace acceptable to a particular patient.
Hearing is not just about loudness and frequencies, an equally important part is the brains ability to discriminate between different sounds quickly and accurately. Over months the patient will be gradually exposed to more and more sounds, while at the same time supported with counselling and auditory training.
Ultimate duration of the treatment depends on the patient’s ability to accept amplification, the duration of unaided hearing impairment, the quality of the hearing aids and how diligently the patient participates in the auditory therapy.