American Academy of Audiology
The American Academy of Audiology is the world's largest professional organization of, by and for audiologists.
Healthy Hearing - Consumer Resource on Hearing Aids and Hearing Loss
Healthy Hearing is the leading online consumer resource for persons seeking information on hearing loss, hearing aids and other hearing health topics. Free consumer guides on hearing loss, hearing aids, cochlear implants and funding resources are available.
What is an Audiologist?
An audiologist is a person who has a masters or doctoral degree in audiology. Audiology is the science of hearing. In addition, the audiologist must be licensed or registered by their state (in 47 states) to practice audiology.
Hearing Aids in the Presence of Background Noise
Virtually all patients wearing hearing aids complain about background noise at one time or another, There is no way to completely eliminate background noise, However; hearing aid technology has made great advances and has many solutions for this common problem.
Digital Hearing Aid Technology
The term DIGITAL is used so often today, it can be confusing, When the term "digital" is used while referring to hearing aids, it generally means the hearing aid is 100% digital. In other words, the hearing aid is indeed a "complete computer".
Taking an Impression of the Ear
All custom made hearing aids and ear molds are made from a "cast" of the ear, The cast is referred to as an ear impression. The audiologist makes the ear impression in the office. It takes about 10 to 15 minutes.
Middle Ear Implants
Middle ear implants are surgically implanted devices, The FDA has approved specific middle ear implants and the FDA is still reviewing others. The middle ear implant is a useful hearing instrument and is quite different from traditional hearing aids.
Realistic Expectations for the Hearing Aid User
Hearing aids work very well when fit and adjusted appropriately. They are designed to make words and the conversations easier to understand in all situations, without making sounds appear to be too loud.
Three Levels of Hearing Aid Technology
There are essentially three levels of hearing aid technology. We refer to these as analog, digitally programmable, and digital.
Type and Degree of Hearing Loss
Results of the audiometric evaluation are plotted on a chart called an audiogram, Loudness is plotted from top to bottom. Frequency, from low to high, is plotted from left to right.
What is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is an abnormal perception of a sound reported by a patient but is unrelated to an external source of stimulation. Tinnitus is a very common disorder affecting over 50 million people in the
United States. It may be intermittent, constant or fluctuant, mild or severe, and may vary from a low roaring sensation to a high pitched type of sound. It may or may not be associated with a hearing loss. It is also classified further into subjective tinnitus (a noise perceived by the patient alone) or objective (a noise perceived by the patient as well as by another listener). Subjective tinnitus is common; however, objective tinnitus is relatively uncommon, The location of tinnitus may be in the ear(s) and/or in the head.
Types of Hearing Aids
There are many styles of hearing aids. The degree of the hearing loss, power and options requirements, manual dexterity abilities, cost factors, and cosmetic concerns are some of the factors that will determine the style the patient will use.
Styles of Hearing Aids
Hearing aids are available in many different sizes and styles thanks to advancements in digital technology, miniaturization of the digital electronic part and fresh focus on design among the hearing aid manufacturers. Many of today's hearing aids are considered sleek, compact and innovative offering solutions to a wide range of hearing aid wearers.
When selecting style the following is considered:
The degree of the hearing 105s (power requirements)
Manual dexterity abilities
Completely-In-the-Canal (CIC) - The smallest custom hearing aids made, CICs sit deeply and entirely inside the ear canal. They usually require a "removal string" due to their small size and the fact that they fit so deeply into the canal. They fit a mild to moderate hearing loss and offer high cosmetic appeal.
In-The-Canal (ITC) hearing aids sit in the lower portion of the outer ear's bowl and are slightly larger than a CIC hearing aid. Because of their slightly larger size, they often have a longer battery life than CICs and come available with more options depending upon the size of ear. They fit mild to moderate hearing losses.
Half-Shell- The half shell model fills half of the bowl of the outer ear and like ITC hearing aids. They allow more options and longer battery life due to the larger size. This size is ideal for persons seeking a smaller hearing aid that may have potential dexterity concerns.
Full Shell or In-The-Ear (ITE) - The largest of the custom hearing aids made, full shell hearing aids fill up the entire bowl of the outer ear. This size allows the maximum number of controls and features and is able to fit mild to severe hearing losses.
Behind-the-Ear (BTE) Styles:
Mini-BTE with slim tubes - This type of BTE is often referred to as an "open fit" hearing aid. The small miniature hearing aid sets behind the ear and transmits sound into the ear canal via a thin plastic tube. The tubing connects to a soft tip that sits in the ear canal but doesn't occlude it. The result is a natural, open feeling as air and sound enter the ear naturally around the tip, while amplified sound enters through the tip. This style of BTE is recommended for mild to moderate high frequency losses and offers cosmetic appeal to the small size of the hearing aid.
Receiver-in-the-Ear (RITE) - RITE hearing aids, also known as Receiver-in-canal (RIC) models, are similar to the mini BTE, however, instead the speaker of the hearing aid sits inside the ear canal versus the main body of the hearing aid behind the ear. Although it looks like a mini BTE when worn on the ear, the RITE style fits a higher degree of hearing loss (mild to severe), while still providing the "open" fitting.
BTE with custom ear mold - BTEs with custom ear molds fit the widest range of hearing loss, from mild to profound. They are slightly longer in shape and are contoured to set nicely behind the ear for a sleek, compact look. This style of hearing aid typically offers a wide array of features and options, as well as more control and power than custom models. BTEs are connected to the ear canal 1a custom-made plastic tubing and ear mold. The ear mold color and style, as well as the wearer's hairstyle will determine how this style looks on each person.
Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs)
You may have certain communication needs that cannot be solved by the use of hearing aids alone, These situations may involve the use of the telephone, radio, television, and the inability to hear the door chime, telephone bell, and alarm clock.
Candidates for ALDs
People with all degrees and types of hearing loss - even people with normal, hearing can benefit from assistive listening devices.
Types of ALDs
There are many assistive listening devices available today; from sophisticated systems used in theaters and auditoriums to small personal systems.
What is a Neurotologist?
Otologists or neurotologists are physicians who in addition to their ENT requirements continue their specialized training for an additional year or more in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the ear.
Generally speaking, cochlear implants are for patients with severe-to-profound, sensorineural hearing loss. There are approximately 500,000 patients in the USA with severe-to-profound hearing loss.