Types of Hearing Loss
Mild Flat Loss
The audiogram at right shows normal hearing across the top using X and O. (See Key Below Audiogram) The blue shaded areas show where the symbols would be charted in degrees of hearing loss from slight to moderate. Mild flat losses are recognized by feeling all sounds are dimmer than they used to be. Mild flat loss sufferers tend to listen to the TV or radio at higher volume than others do, finding that it is relaxing to have sounds turned up enough so they are not straining to hear. Hearing Aids like the AuraSet CIC and the Easy Fit Soft Shell CIC and Mini-Canal are small enough so they are not noticeable visually, but they make a big difference in how clear voices are.
People with moderate loss know they have hearing loss, and it interferes with normal day-to-day activities if not corrected by wearing hearing aids. Moderate loss requires strong, well-fitted hearing aids. At Precise Hearing we can help with two types of products: traditional behind the ear (BTE) hearing aids using earmolds (obtained locally) or see our new style mini-BTE devices. Mini-BTE’s are a great solution. Inconspicuous and effective, a mini BTE is reliable and comfortable for first-time hearing aid wearers.
Mild High Frequency Loss
As shown in the audiogram to the left most of the Xs and Os indicate normal hearing until, in the higher frequencies on the right side of the chart, the symbols fall to reflect mild high-frequency loss. The high-frequency portion of the group of sounds that make up a word may be inaudible to people with high-frequency loss. Hearing speech is as easy but understanding is more difficult as the loss deepens. Traditionally high-frequency loss has been one of the hardest to attain satisfactory improvement in hearing with hearing aids. Gn ReSound changed that when they came out with the Gn ReSound AIR 60+. Its design reduces feedback and uses an open earmold, overcoming the two major hurdles of high-frequency loss – occlusion and feedback. In recent years most of the other hearing aid manufactures have followed in Gn Resound‘s footsteps and released similar technologies. Siemens has come out with the Siemens Acuris Life which offers some great options. The Acuris Life has an optional remote control that allows the user to select from three memories and control the volume. The Acuris Life also has more power to fit a greater range of hearing losses. We can now offer much better solutions to high-frequency loss than ever before. Another open-ear hearing aid that offers advanced features and power is the Unitron Moda NT, a very stylish and comfortable, high-tech digital, open-ear hearing aid. The Moda Open-Ear hearing aid comes with three memories and the option to use small tubes with earmolds.
Moderate to Severe High Frequency Loss
Commonly associated with noise damage, as well as aging, high-frequency loss is common. High-frequency hearing loss, as shown in the audiogram above, has benefited from vast improvements in hearing-aid technology recently. The new, open-ear types of hearing aids such as the Gn ReSound AIR 60+ Mini-BTE, Unitron Moda NT and the Siemens Acuris Life are the top three brands. Severe high-frequency loss is best treated by the Siemens Acuris Life, the Unitron Moda NT or traditional BTEs such as the Arista Lite BTE with well-fit ear molds. Symptoms of high-frequency loss are not being able to understand speech except in quiet environments, having trouble hearing TV and movies or not being able to keep pace in conversations held in places with excessive noise such as busy restaurants or social gatherings.
People suffering from severe losses have fewer choices in hearing aids. A good physical fit is critical. Hearing aids must fit very tightly to hold the sound in the ear canal but not so tight it makes the ear or ear canal sore. Traditional BTEs are the products that work best and give the least amount of trouble.