Years ago, I was diagnosed with high-frequency hearing loss and told that hearing aids probably wouldn't help. With all the new technology in hearing aids, am I a candidate now?
Answers from Paul Y. Takahashi, M.D.
Yes. Hearing aid manufacturers continue to make improvements by developing hearing aids that are more effective for all types of hearing loss, including high-frequency hearing loss.
The advent of digital technology in the mid-1990s resulted in significant hearing aid improvements. Digital hearing aids can be adjusted to match an individual's unique hearing loss. With digital hearing aids, a computer chip converts incoming sounds into digital code and then analyzes and adjusts the signal based on your specific needs as revealed by your hearing test. The signals are then converted back into sound waves and delivered to your ears. The result is sound that's more finely tuned to your hearing loss.
Some additional improvements in digital hearing aids include:
- Better feedback (whistling) management
- Better noise reduction
- Better automatic volume adjustments
- Connectivity to devices with Bluetooth technology, such as cellphones and tablets
Open-fit hearing aids leave your ear canal at least partially open and are now state-of-the-art for high-frequency hearing loss. Open-fit hearing aids allow low- and mid-frequency sounds into the ear normally, so that only high-frequency sounds are amplified.
To find the best hearing aid for your situation, make an appointment with an audiologist to have your hearing tested and to discuss your specific needs. Together, you can decide which features will be most helpful for your hearing loss.
Because it may take some time to get used to a hearing aid, most states allow at least a 30-day trial period during which you can try out the hearing aid and return it if you're not satisfied. There may be some charges for the trial period.
Sept. 23, 2015
See more Expert Answers
- Weber PC. Hearing amplification in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 6, 2015.
- Flint PW, et al. Hearing aid amplification. In: Cummings Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2015. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Aug. 6, 2015.
- Evaluation of hearing loss. Merck Manual Professional Version. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/ear-nose-and-throat-disorders/hearing-loss/evaluation-of-hearing-loss. Accessed Aug. 6, 2015.
- Barbara Woodward Lips Patient Education Center. Are hearing aids right for you? Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2014.
- Hogan CA (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Aug. 19, 2015.