One of the biggest issues that Americans have to face is the issue of hearing loss. Most of them are elderly people or adults. According to the National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders, one-third of people ages 65 to 74 have difficulty in hearing, and the number is getting higher and higher. About half of them by the age of 75. This phenomenon is linked with other health issues, for example, lack of concentration, bad memory, or even depression and dementia.
NANO products could be considered the ideal hearing aids for a variety of reasons.. There is a great variety to choose from, according to your needs and of the highest quality. Before your purchase, here is an insider scoop on this phenomenon that most Americans face and all the important information you need to know and reviews of hearing loss aids.
But what are actually the real reasons for hearing loss?
- Sensorineural hearing loss
This is the most common type of hearing loss, which is caused by damage to the tiny hair cells of the inner ear. They convert the incoming sound waves into electrical signals that are then shuttled to the brain. The factors that can increase the risk rate are aging, family history, and medication. This type of loss cannot be reversed but it can be helped by special hearing aids that can amplify the sounds. For example, there are cochlear implants that stimulate electrically the auditory nerve. In this way, the damaged part is bypassed and people with serious hearing issues can feel relieved.
- Conductive Hearing Loss
This type of loss is not as common as the previous one but it does have to do with malformation of the middle or outer ear. For example, it can be impacted by earwax, that can cause infection and with this way, it will cause disorder and provoke sound blocking. The way to solve this problem is to cautiously remove the wax from the outer ear, and then check for infections. If any, then surgery might be necessary. However, there are some cases that can be dealt with just a simple hearing aid.
How do hearing aids work?
Those hair in our inner ear are crucial and once they are dead we can’t bring them back. This is when hearing aids are necessary in order to enhance our capability of hearing sounds as loud as we want. They contain a microphone which picks up the sound, an amplifier in order to make the sound louder, and a receiver which sends the sound directly into the ear canal. Nowadays, there are also digital aids that make the sound digital and it is transmitted to a computer chip. In this way, the sound is adjusted in order to help our hearing. There is also one more type of hearing aids, the analog ones that are less common but definitely more advantaged and user friendly.
What do hearing professionals do?
They can actually program this digital aid in order to provide us clear sounds, without wind or background noise. Did you know that there are also hearing aid models that can sync with the smartphone so this helps you take calls or adjust your aid through an app.
How to choose the right hearing aid?
There are several factors that you need to take into consideration. For example, the type or severity of your hearing loss. Also, your lifestyle and your manual dexterity. Not all hearing aids are suitable for all people. That’s why you need to follow the advice of professionals in order to make the right choice. There is a wide variety of brands but you need to find the right model. Studying some NANO hearing aid reviews is a good first step.
What are the types of hearing aids?
They have five basic styles, depending on where they are put, in or behind the ear. In Spring of 2018 a survey showed that most of the customers, specifically more than 122,000 prefer the type “mini-behind-the-ear” type of digital hearing aid.
- In-the-Canal Hearing Aid (ITC)
They are not easily visible with naked eye and the aid sits deep in the canal so you will avoid the feeling of a plugged-up material in your ear. Keep in mind that you can also have directional microphones if you choose to buy larger units.
- Traditional In-the-Ear Hearing Aid (ITE)
This is the type that we are all used to. All its electronic components are inside the case, which is in the bowl of the outer ear. It is very easy to insert, plus there is room for extra features such as a telecoil or directional microphone.
- Mini-Behind-the-Ear Hearing Aid (mBTE)
In this type, the receiver is inside the ear canal. It is attached to the ear via a thin wire and a custom-made earmold (a piece of soft material made to fit snugly in the ear and channel sound into the ear), or a non-custom dome-style ear-canal piece. This type can be also heard as receiver-in-the-canal (RIC), receiver-in-the-ear (RITE), receiver-in-the-aid (RITA), and canal receiver technology (CRT).
- Traditional Behind the Ear Hearing Aid (BTE)
In this type of aid, there is a plastic case in which all the components are electronic. It is worn behind the ear. The case is connected through a tube with the receiver and a custom earmold worn in the ear canal. The great thing about this type is that it contains flexible components and with low or high-frequency amplification which makes it the perfect choice especially for those with serious hearing loss. In such traditional models, controls are easy to manipulate and the telecoil mode is easily selected and used. The custom-made earmold can be easily cleaned. The plastic case can also accommodate larger batteries.
- Completely-in-the-Canal Hearing Aid (CIC)
This type of hearing aid gets straight inside the ear canal and it is fitted deeper and tight. It is not sensitive to loud noise and it can be easily removed with a string. It cannot be easily seen because it is in the canal.
Important features of hearing aids
Rechargeable batteries are a plus and this is what you should keep in mind before buying your own aid. Smartphone capability is also a plus because it comes in handy and you will be able to control it through your mobile easily. Also, the automatic noise level adjustment can be really helpful too, as well as the multiple program settings. For example, if you are in a noisy or quiet room, the setting will change on its own accordingly. The Telecoil is also important. It is a tiny sensor or a wire from copper that is placed inside the aid. It picks up a magnetic signal when it is activated and converts this energy into sound. This can happen when there is a hearing loop-a wire that circles a telecoil compatible room and it emits the signal which is picked up by the telecoil.
All the above are necessary technologies that make people’s lives easier, by adjusting the noise or making a voice louder. Whatever the type of aid, make sure you ask the provider to activate your telecoil as well as to provide you with a manual T-switch.
This is the device used in order to help you converse the noise. It works perfectly especially if you are next to the source of the sound. This feature enables the automatic switch between directional and omnidirectional settings, according to your environment.
Feedback suppression is also known as digital feedback reduction and its function is quelled high-pitched whistling sounds. It can help you minimize your feedback and you will find it quite comfortable and with better sound quality. Make sure you choose the proper fit.
Digital Noise Reduction (DNR)
This feature is ideal for noisy environments because it blocks out enough of the background noise, in a comfortable way.
Other Hearing Aid Features
When choosing a hearing loss aid it is important to pay attention to some more features like wax guards in order to prevent buildup, low-battery indicator sounds, a wireless connection between the two aids, both automatic and manual volume control, data logging, and a memory of your listening preferences in order to be sure that a record is being kept. One new feature is the direct audio input, which allows users to connect directly to a television or any other electronic device.
How to select a Hearing Aid Provider?
The first person that you should contact is your doctor or an otolaryngologist—the doctor who specializes in ear, nose, and throat issues. After that, you will get referred to an audiologist. However, in 2016 The Food and Drug Administration announced that there is no longer a requirement of a medical exam for adults in order to purchase a hearing aid.
The audiologist is the person who will tell you the reasons for the hearing loss. Maybe it’s because of a tumor in the ear or an infection from bacteria or maybe it is just earwax that has been built up. The audiologist is the person who will conduct tests to assess your hearing aid requirements. In those tests, they will check your ability to understand speech in different settings or your listening needs. There are many hearing technologies, so be sure to choose the right audiologist and together you will decide which will be best for you. Many audiologists work privately in freestanding offices, or they can be found at wholesale clubs
However, there are also some big box stores that have employees who are known as hearing aid or hearing-instrument specialists. Their license is typically posted, but be sure that you ask whether you’re seeing an audiologist or a hearing aid specialist.
Both of them can be of great help and they will evaluate your hearing needs and fit your hearing aids, but it is logical that their training is not quite the same. There are different requirements that depend on the state, but usually, audiologists have got a doctoral degree (Au.D.) and well over 1,000 hours of clinical training in testing and rehabilitation of people with hearing loss, and they have also passed specific exams.
On the other hand, the requirements for hearing aid specialists are totally different. In their case, they may only have to pass a simple test so no formal training is required. However, in other states, they may need to have at least two years of supervised training so as to get a license.
Nowadays, choosing between all these brands may lead to analysis paralysis. Why? Because the offering is huge. Notice that you can have NANO hearing aids, Costco, MD hearing aids, Phonak, Siemens, Widex, Resound, Rexton, Starkey, and many more. So how do you know which NANO-type device is the best? Well, one way is to read online reviews of companies that have several hundreds of trusted reviews. This way you can gather unbiased sentiment from consumers. After all, most hearing aid providers work for a commission from the brands they sell – so you really should get direct feedback from consumers and consider the wisdom of the crowd too.
(Read more about Nano Hearing Aid Reviews here)
How should you work with a hearing healthcare provider?
First of all, they need to inform you about their convenient business hours in order to be able to schedule your appointment. Make sure you bring someone you trust with you, so as to be sure that they listen carefully to what they advise you. Taking down notes is important and be sure that you ask everything that you want about your issue. One of the basic topics that you should discuss is how your lifestyle and relationships, will be affected by this change and how to deal with possible listening situations, for example talking on the phone. Be sure that your vision is well because this will be a basic way of handling the hearing aids successfully.
Also,the office should test your hearing in a special soundproof booth and after this, you will need to have the results. After you find the suitable hearing aid, the provider must be totally sure that it works in all kinds of environments, even in noisy ones. Ask them anything you might want and scan through the brochure together so as to know where to find the instructions if anything comes up as an issue.
Visit your provider every year in order to be able to learn about the new technologies on hearing aids and to ask whether you need to make changes in your device or not.
One possible cause is not to be able to cooperate with a hearing loss aid. Then you should visit a professional who will give you advice on how to handle the problem.
Before you shop
Many surveys that have been conducted with people that have hearing loss have shown that one of the main reasons why they don’t buy a hearing aid is the unaffordable price. The following tips might be helpful for you and can guide you to other affordable solutions.
1. Coverage. Although most of the insurance does not cover hearing aids, there are certain cases like some children, federal workers, and veterans, or residents of states like Arkansas, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island that can get them covered. You might have at least partial coverage or even discounts.
2. Contract. This tip is very important because it will assure that if anything happens with the aid you will be able to return it and get your money back or to replace it. In its details, it should also point out the length of the trial period, of the warranty and what it covers, for example, adjustment services, loss and damage insurance coverage.
3. Don’t exaggerate. Be sure that you buy only what you need. Skip all the things that you won’t use if you are not sure, for example a Bluetooth. Also, ask your provider to test your performance with different kinds of aids, from premium to more economic ones. They will also determine how much your insurance will pay.
4. Ask for a price break. If you are facing financial difficulties try to negotiate and ask for a better price or a cheaper model. Be sure that the provider gives you a variety of aids to choose from and why they recommend you specific ones. Don’t forget that there are stores that have on-site audiologists or hearing specialists but not all of them so make a phone call in order to be sure. If you decide to buy online, because it will be cheaper this might have an impact on the fitting, so you might have extra issues, like sending it back.
When the time comes and you have your NANO hearing aid in your hands
This step is crucial because you will be able to see if your aid works properly for you. That’s why you should ask your hearing aid provider to do a real-ear test, or a real-ear measure, as it is also known. They will place a thin probe in your outer ear while you have your hearing aid. With this way, they will measure whether your hearing aid is responding appropriately to your level of hearing loss, both in quiet and noisy places.
One of the basic and most important parts is when the provider explains the use of the aid. First they should make sure that you feel comfortable enough. Also, they should show you how to clean and store it, or how to change batteries and choose the correct size. They will also inform you when you need to take them off, for example in a radiological test and to always keep them dry.
Feel free to ask them anything that comes in your mind, especially if you feel any discomfort or difficulties with the use of the aid and don’t forget to practice talking on the phone while you are in with them, because you might need adjustments.
After your purchase, you should schedule a follow-up check after a few days of the fitting. Another useful tip is that the aid is compatible with your cell phone or cordless phones and of course that the T-switch is enabled. There are also many other options that you have, for example, connection of your aid with a smartphone app.
At home with the hearing aid
Keep in mind that this procedure of getting used to your hearing aid might take a long time. It is important that you practice every day. Your brain isn’t used to this and it will be a bit annoying in the beginning. Phone your provider whenever you have an issue or if you need adjustment. Everything can happen but it is all under control!
Alternative hearing helpers
If you feel like you are not ready to get used to hearing aids here is a list of other alternative ways that can help you:
- Personal Sound Amplification Products (PSAPs)
These aids have been designed for specific purposes, to amplify specific sounds. They are not as functional as the professional ones and of course, they are of a lower cost. PSAPs are not for people that deal with hearing loss because they don’t meet the same standards. Before purchasing a PSAP it is helpful to ask an audiologist to test the device to make sure it is the ideal one for your hearing loss. For example that it is not too loud for you and that it is able to amplify speech in the frequencies that you need.
In 2017 a law was passed about calls for the creation of a new category of hearing aids. They will be considered as hearing aids, and their aim will be their target group will be the people with moderate hearing loss. However, the FDA has only three years in order to come up with rules that the products will need so as to fall into this new category.
Other Helping Listening Devices
If you are facing issues with your hearing but it is not that big in order to buy hearing aids there are many other options in the market that are lower-cost. These devices include apps that allow you to amplify the sound with your smartphone. This can also be done with earbuds and other portable wireless devices with which you can listen to your TV and other audio devices with your earphones. You can also find other amplified versions of basic household items for example telephones, alarm clocks, or even doorbells.
Hearing loss is an issue that a great deal of people face. However there is nothing that can’t be done in order to fix this problem and make sure that you feel comfortable again and ready to face your everyday life. NANO products are here to make your life easier.