I received a phone call from a kind woman the other day who asked many questions about hearing devices and hearing aids. We discussed how hearing loss occurs, progresses, and surrounding symptoms. We also discussed various topics of how sounds and frequency ranges are involved with speech. Higher frequency losses result in decreased clarity, word understanding, or discernment of the speech sound. Cochlear implant questions also were brought up in comparison of the implant and digital hearing aids.
Can a hearing aid restore my hearing to normal? That question, in particular, was the one that seemed to be the most “important” and personally connected, to this caller. I responded that we can provide audibility to many sounds. We can provide sound where there may have, prior, been lacking. We can, in many cases, provide an improvement to hearing towards the normal range, but the hearing loss does still exist. With nerve loss, we are still sending sound through a system that has inner ear hair cell nerve damage, and this may result in a much improved ability to hear, but may not be like “normal hearing.” I always lean towards optimistic approaches to answers, but at the same time providing accurate, real, and truthful responses. After all, we can do such great things for people with hearing loss.
We can provide such wonderful ways to help reduce the negative affects of tinnitus.
The title of this blog, “These don’t cure me, but they make my life better”, was a phrase a patient made to me as he described how he loves his new digital hearing aids. And thus, this seemed to be fitting for the caller… as we talked further. I appreciate people making the call, asking questions, and seeking answers! We should make time for what matters.