Modern hearing aids, hearing tests and premium hearing care in Swords

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Three types Of Hearing Loss

There are three major classifications of hearing loss, sensorineural hearing loss, conductive hearing loss and mixed hearing loss. Sensorineural hearing loss is caused by damage to the cochlea (inner ear), it is what is best known as nerve deafness. Conductive loss is more usually caused by damage to the middle ear, this is normally to the function of the eardrum or the three bones in that cavity. Mixed loss is simply hearing loss caused by a mix of damage to both.

Seven Signs of Hearing Loss

There are seven clear signs that a person may be suffering with hearing loss. If you suffer with a combination of any two, you should get your hearing tested:

  • Difficulty understanding people, especially in crowded places like bars or restaurants
  • The need to have instructions repeated. A clear sign that there may be a problem
  • A high volume level on the TV or stereo
  • Difficulty hearing telephone conversations
  • Difficulty when people are speaking in another room
  • Withdrawal from social situations

Hearing loss Measurements

Sound occurs at different pitches called frequencies and at different loudness levels that we refer to as intensity. The measurement unit for frequencies are Hertz (Hz) and the measurement unit for intensity is the decibel (dB). The range of pitches that we are important for speech range from low 250 Hz to high 8000 Hz. The ranges of intensities that we normally hear are 0 dB (very soft sound) to 120 dB (very loud sound). A hearing test is a measure of how well we hear at each pitch or frequency. This information allows us to quantify your los

Hearing loss degrees

The degree of hearing loss refers to the severity of hearing loss. Historically people spoke about hearing loss in percentages, but it is not an accurate or descriptive term. Most Audiologists now use degree of loss, such as the following:
  • Normal range or no loss: 10 to 20 dB
  • Slight Loss/Minimal Loss: 20 to 30 dB
  • Mild Loss: 26 to 40 dB
  • Moderate Loss: 40 to 60 dB
  • Moderate/Severe Loss: 51 to 70 dB
  • Severe Loss: 71 to 90 dB
  • Profound Loss: 91 dB or more

Hearing loss treatment

There may be medical treatment in the form of surgery or drugs available for conductive loss, dependent on several factors such as the underlying cause, age of the Patient etc. There is no medical treatment for sensorineural loss at present. Although there have been some interesting findings with stem cell therapy, those type of treatments are nowhere near becoming commercially available. And probably will not be for quite a long time.

The Hearing Test

We undertake a comprehensive diagnostic hearing evaluation which involves thorough testing of your hearing function. This includes, tympanometry, Pure Tone Testing and Quick SIN Speech Testing. An average test process takes an hour and a half.
The hearing test is broken into different sections, each section covers an area of information that we need to make an assessment and a recommendation. The sections are as follows:
  • Medical Questionnaire, to give us an understanding of your general health
  • Lifestyle Questionnaire, to give us an understanding your perception of the impact of your hearing problems
  • Tympanometery, this device allows us to assess the function of your middle ear
  • Pure Tone Audiometery, this test allows us to assess how well you hear at each frequency
  • Advanced Audiometery, only used in difficult cases to definitively ascertain the scope of a hearing loss
  • Quick SIN, a test that allows us quantify exactly how well you hear speech in noise
  • Explanation of Results, we give a full explanation of the results that we have found

Hearing Aids

The most basic descriptions of hearing aids are amplifiers of sound. They have a microphone or microphones that convert sound into electrical signals, an amplifier that increases the strength of the signal, then a loudspeaker (receiver) which converts it back to sound and channels it into the ear canal through a small tube or ear-mould. A small battery powers the hearing aid and to enable its working processes. Most modern hearing aids are sophisticated, state-of-the-art mini computers that shape and amplify sound amplification to fit a hearing loss. They all require expert computer programming to adjust to your specific lifestyle and listening environments.
No, hearing aids do not deliver normal hearing although the most modern ones are doing an increasingly better job of it. Most hearing losses are caused by damaged or missing hair cells in the cochlea, they can not be replaced. Even though hearing aids shape sounds to fit your hearing loss, the louder sounds are still sent to damaged hair cells in the cochlea. While damaged hair cells cannot be replaced, hearing instruments are the proven solution which both greatly improve your ability to hear and dramatically increase your quality of life.
Hearing aids deliver immediate benefits, however to receive the full benefit given a Patient needs to go through a period of rehabilitation. A great deal of that rehabilitation takes place within the first three months. It will continue though for up to a further nine months dependent on the period that the loss has been untreated. There are also exercises and programmes that will help with rehabilitation, these will help you get the full benefit of your hearing aids. this is why we are committed to strong rehabilitation and after care during the Patient Journey we offer.