What are you not hearing?

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Be more present

Yes maybe you can hear someone knocking at the door, but how do you know what you can’t hear?

A hearing test will tell you what you are missing (it’s usually the parts of hearing that make conversation easy)

An audiologists day is always lifted by the joy on a client’s face when they first wear their custom hearing aid and they realise the sounds they’ve been missing.

 

Delivery man knocking on door

A tinnitus* revelation

A common myth about tinnitus is there’s nothing that can be done. Most people’s experience of tinnitus is mild, but for some this symptom can be very upsetting.

One of the therapies for tinnitus is to identify whether the tinnitus is causing a high pitched noise or a low one, and then boosting those audio frequencies in the hearing aid so that the sounds of everyday life may mask the tinnitus.

* (Tinnitus is an ear condition where the sufferer hears a constant noise. It often seems worse at bedtime, but only because there are no other distracting noises. It can take many different forms from whooshing noises to ringing or humming.)

A woman with ear pain
An older couple enjoying a forest rest

How does hearing actually work?

Sound passes through air like waves on water. If you watch a hi-fi speaker, you can see it move .. it’s literally pushing and pulling the air, and those vibrations radiate out and move your eardrum and ear hairs. Those are connected to nerves to your brain where you perceive the sounds. It’s amazing, isn’t it?

Your ear is a sensitive instrument so while I have your attention, please don’t push cotton buds (perish the thought) into your ear. 

Graphic of ear and sound
Graphic showing voice and soundwave

Our hearing aid audiologist’s aim to match your hearing profile exactly. We can turn up or down different sound frequencies and fine tune your hearing aid software in a very detailed way to match your precise hearing-loss profile that we measured in the hearing test. We describe how that feels on another page (hint: it’s good, really good).

That’s the basic idea, but modern hearing aids are so much more than that.

Some sounds are high pitched, like birds tweeting. Some are low like thunder. During a hearing test, we check different frequencies of sound (high pitched ones and low pitched sounds) to discover what you can hear well and which sounds you are missing. As we get older, we tend to lose sensitivity to high pitched sounds.

Hearing aids can amplify certain frequencies. So in simple terms if you can hear low pitched noises 100%, but high pitched ones 50%, if we turn up the high pitched noises so they are twice as loud, you’ll get closer to hearing 100% across the board again.

High pitched sounds make up an important part of conversation. S, C and many consonants of speech have a high pitched component and they form anchor points that help our brains navigate around what’s being said. Without the high pitched sound frequencies, speech is more of a mumble, it’s like trying to work out what people are saying in the next room.

My tone graph will go here, but Joe will have to send it to me.

A tiny hearing aid held between finger and thumb

Hear the difference with Audibel hearing aids

We are privileged to bring Audibel hearing products to Scarborough. You may have read on another page how many of their team have been there for decades. That’s a measure of a good, respected and well managed company, and it really helps when we are dealing with engineers and specialists who bring a lifetime of experience to their work.

The company is still owned by Bill Austin who was training to be a doctor in the 1960s when he got a holiday job repairing hearing aids, saw what a difference they could make to people’s lives and relationships, and made audiology his life’s mission.

Are you ready for what modern hearing aids can do nowadays?

  • Bluetooth connectivity:  so you can listen to phone calls, the TV, music or audiobooks straight to your ear, without disturbing anyone else.
  • Fall alert: if you fall, your hearing aid can call for help from whoever you designate.
  • Live language translation: yes, really.
  • Reading to you: your hearing aid can alert you to text messages or emails and even read them out to you.
  • Remote adjustments: your hearing aid settings can be adjusted by us or by you on a phone app.

No stigma, but charisma

It’s not all roses, of course. Some people have a residual feeling that wearing a hearing aid is not a good look. As if wearing one is an admission that you’re growing older. It’s not like that any more.

Starkey was the first company to develop in-ear hearing aids that are virtually invisible (Audibel is a Starkey brand).

But you’ll have noticed how trendy it is to wear those white earphones from Apple (AirPods, they’re called, apparently). Ear aids are cool now, everyone’s wearing them.

 

Older, outdoorsy man looking to camera
Older guys chatting, sat outdoors

 

If you think about it, it’s hearing loss that’s out of date. Fixing hearing loss? That’s vital and up to date.

Won’t it be great to get back to banter?

What's life like with a hearing aid?

Read more ..