Loyola Medicine’s experienced audiology team understands that hearing loss can have a profound effect on your life and your relationships. The degree of hearing loss is different for everyone, as is the cause of your hearing loss. Common causes of hearing loss include:
- A growth in the ear
- Excessive noise
- Exposure to toxins
- Getting older
If you are among the 10 percent of Americans who suffer from hearing loss, Loyola can offer hope. Recent advances in technology mean that more options are available to help people with hearing loss hear better than they ever thought possible.
You have a wide variety of hearing devices from which to choose, depending on your hearing loss. Many of today's styles are more cosmetically appealing than in years past and do not look like traditional hearing devices. Most of today's hearing devices are 100 percent digital signal processing, meaning the circuitry inside of the device uses a digital format to process sound. Both custom and non-custom hearing aids are available:
- Behind-the-ear hearing devices — Amplification devices that sit behind your ear. They are fitted to your ear through the use of a custom-made earmold, which is typically is made of a soft or hard plastic material formed from the shape of your ear. This mold allows for sound to travel down from the unit behind the ear to your ear canal. This style often is chosen for young children for safety and growth reasons.
- In-the-ear-aids — Custom devices that are contained in a shell that fills in the outer part of your ear. These aids are larger than canal aids and, for some, may be easier to manipulate.
- Open-fit behind-the-ear hearing devices — An option if you have high-tone or high-pitch hearing loss. This is a soft, non-custom piece placed in your ear canal. This will keep your ear canal more open, allowing for a more natural sound quality.
- Partly in-the-canal and completely in-the-canal aids — Custom devices that are contained in a tiny case that fits partly or completely into your ear canal. These are the smallest aids available and offer cosmetic and hearing advantages.
Loyola performs a comprehensive evaluation of your hearing loss and your unique communication needs. Then, your Loyola doctor will provide you with recommendations for specific hearing aids that are appropriate for your needs, along with rehabilitation strategies that can help you in adapting to your new way of hearing.
A few weeks following your evaluation, Loyola will fit you with your new hearing device. Your audiologist will program the hearing aids to your prescriptive setting, as determined by your hearing evaluation. We teach you how to care for and use your hearing aids. You also learn about auditory rehabilitation—corrections to any non-hearing changes you may have previously made in your daily living as your hearing loss increased, such as moving closer to people when talking.
Living with hearing aids takes time and adjustment. Your audiologist works with you for several weeks to evaluate the benefits of your hearing aids. You are encouraged to use your devices in a variety of listening environments. Loyola audiologists are available for regular adjustments in programming and continued evaluation.