Couple in backyard garden. Husband is wearing invisible hearing aids ater taking the most accurate online hearing test on the Lexie Hearing website.

The A-Z of Hearing Aids and Hearing Loss

If you have a hearing loss, learn about hearing aids, hearing loss, hearing health professionals, and get tips to embrace your journey to hearing health.

A: Audiologist: the person responsible for identifying whether a hearing or balance problem exists and how serious it is. The audiologist determines this by performing a series of ear-related tests. If a problem, in the form of a hearing loss, is identified the audiologist may recommend and later provide you with a hearing aid to assist with your everyday listening.

B: Benefits of using a hearing aid: being able to hear better, a reduced rate of cognitive decline, increased ease with which you communicate and connect with people, increased confidence, renewed energy levels, and overall better quality of life as you perform daily tasks.

C: Customize your hearing aid to suit your hearing needs based on the type and severity of hearing loss you present with. Severe hearing loss might require a more powerful hearing aid with a custom earpiece, as opposed to mild or medium hearing loss which may require a less powerful hearing aid that connects to a smaller and more generic earpiece.

D: Deciding to get a hearing aid or not. It’s a big decision that often takes a very long time. Performing online hearing tests is the first step for many individuals that suspect that they have a hearing loss.

E: Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) doctor: a specialist healthcare professional that is trained to manage diseases or other medical issues e.g. tumors or trauma related to the head and neck. The ENT doctor is responsible for performing additional tests if they are necessary.

F: Family and friends are often the first people to identify the problem. They may tell you that you’re listening to the TV louder than usual or that you ask them to repeat themselves more often during conversations. If your family and friends start mentioning this to you, listen to them and ask for help. They’ll probably be the first ones you’ll turn to for support and encouragement as you start to wear hearing aids and pursue hearing health.

G: Getting the news that you need a hearing aid is not easy. A good support system will help you to accept that you need your first hearing aid. It’s also really important to educate yourself and to keep reading so that you can learn about hearing loss. The Lexie Hearing Library will give you access to a lot of information that will make this transition easier.

H: Hearing aids are battery-powered devices that are designed to be worn in or behind your ear. They help you hear better in a quiet setting (in your home) or in a noisy setting (a restaurant). The hearing aid increases the loudness and clarity of sounds that the wearer is exposed to. This increased loudness is made possible by three major components that make up a hearing aid: the microphone, which picks up sounds around you; the amplifier, that serves to make sounds louder; and, the receiver that sends amplified sounds into your ear.

I:  Implantable hearing devices like a cochlear implant can help people with a severe to profound hearing loss to experience sound and hearing. The device is implanted underneath the skin and behind the ear. 

J: Just by continuously wearing your hearing aid, you are reducing any further damage to the hearing organ and increasing the brain’s potential to identify sounds.

K: Keep your hearing aid dry and clean, the first rule of hearing aid maintenance. Moisture and dirt are the most common reasons why hearing aids fail to work. Regular maintenance of your hearing aid is needed to extend its life.

L: Live the life you love. It becomes easier with everyday use of a hearing aid. A hearing aid can boost your confidence and independence, improve your sense of security, reduce physical and mental exhaustion, and above all improves your communication abilities. You will be able to reconnect with your life and your loved ones.

M: Myth about hearing aids: that hearing aids are large, bulky, and uncomfortable. Modern-day hearing aids are increasingly designed to be light and stylish. The Lexie Lumen, for example, only weighs around 0.07oz and is as small as a regular-sized paper clip. It’s so small and comfy you’ll probably even forget you’re wearing it.

N: No two ears are the same. If you have a hearing aid you may be tempted to share it with another person who struggles to hear. While this is a kind act, it is not a good idea to share your hearing aid, because each hearing aid is programmed for a specific ear. If you have two hearing aids you can also not change your hearing aid between your own ears, because each hearing aid will be customized to a particular ear.

O: Online hearing tests can help you to evaluate your hearing from the comfort of your own home.  It can indicate a potential hearing loss and your need to seek help.

P: Program your hearing aids to make it easier for people with active lifestyles to improve their hearing, whether at the office, when doing sports, watching the television, or going out with family and friends to a restaurant. Most modern hearing aids offer a variety of listening programs that are specifically set up according to the hearing loss requirements, needs, and lifestyle of the wearer.

Q: Q-tips should not be used to clean your ears. Wax can be a big problem when wearing a hearing aid, it can cause whistling in your ear and your hearing aid to fail. A healthcare provider needs to look into your ears to determine if there are any blockages and if so, your ear needs to be cleaned professionally.

R: Residual hearing: is the amount of usable hearing that a person with a hearing loss has left. It indicates how well you can hear without a hearing aid. Hearing aids make use of your residual hearing, so the more residual hearing you have available the easier is it to improve your hearing.

S: Signal-to-noise ratio: refers to the level of the signal or speech compared to the level of noise in the environment. You will be able to hear better when the signal is louder than the noise. Hearing aids improve the signal to noise ratio and make it easier to hear conversations in difficult-to-hear environments.

T: Two hearing aids are always better than one if you have a hearing loss in both ears. They will improve your ability to hear in noisy environments, make it easier to determine where sounds come from, and improve energy and concentration levels. They also help to limit the deterioration of the hearing system due to not wearing a hearing aid.

U: Unilateral or one-sided, hearing loss means that there is normal hearing in one of the ears and any level of hearing loss in the other ear. Often this type of hearing loss is overlooked due to good hearing in one ear. In many cases, a hearing aid can help to improve the signal to noise ratio, and so ultimately improve your ability to hear better in noisy environments.

V:  Versatility is key when buying a hearing aid. Your ears and needs are unique and you should look for the most suitable solution available to you.

W: Wireless technology means that you can pair your hearing aids to your smartphone, companion microphones, and other compatible devices. This makes your hearing experience more convenient and easier to manage. The Lexie App is an extension of your hearing aid and a wonderful resource that will make using the Lexie Lumen hearing aid an absolute pleasure.

X:X-factor’ support systems are required from hearing health providers, contact centers, and family and friends, to help hearing aid users obtain the best performance from their hearing aids.  Counselling, support, and patience is a key component to hearing aid success.

Y: Young and old can benefit from hearing aids. The earlier you start to wear a hearing aid, the greater the chance that your brain will adapt and improve your listening skills.

Z: Zinc-air batteries power most hearing aids.  They are air-activated and sealed with a sticker.  When the seal is broken, oxygen will start to interact with the zinc in the battery and activate it. Your degree of hearing loss, the strength of the hearing aid, the settings on the hearing aid, and how long you use and adjust the hearing aid per day will affect how long the battery will last.

Hearing expert writer Chibuike Okorie

Written byChibuike Okorie

B. Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology

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