How can hearing aids help you?

Webpage published: 2011/Last reviewed 2013


Hearing aids are exactly what they sound like – aids to hearing. If you wear a hearing aid then you may know how difficult it can be to adjust to a hearing aid in some situations and how challenging the relationship can be with a hearing aid.

Michael Simmons, who is a retired journalist, said in his book Hearing Loss from stigma to strategy that Hearing aids may fit in the palm of your hand but they are an extraordinary thing with which to form a balanced relationship.” 

The aim of a hearing aid is to help you hear more clearly in conversation and many other situations and to reduce the isolation you can often feel when you can’t hear by becoming more involved in everyday situations. 

Hearing aids do not make any claims to return hearing to normal and have to work with the remaining hearing of the hearing impaired individual. However this seems to be the perception of the general public – that hearing aids restore good hearing in the same way that glasses restore good sight: if they see you have got hearing aids they think you can hear. 

As hearing aids can only work with the amount of residual hearing you have left, it can mean that even with the help of hearing aids, some people who wear hearing aids may still have difficulties hearing in some situations. 

A number of factors impact on how well someone might get on with a hearing aid:

  • The severity of their hearing loss
  • How much the clarity of their hearing has been affected through your hearing loss (known as speech discrimination)
  • How much they wear their hearing aid
  • How well people communicate with them (for example conversation happens face to face)
  • What levels of background noise surround the people having the conversation
  • The acoustics of the room

Modern digital hearing aids are programmed to take into account the hearing needs of the individual. A prescription is created from the hearing test completed in the assessment appointment.

This programmes the hearing aid with the optimum level of amplification for hearing in speech. The prescription gives a good starting point for amplification however some people may have slightly different preferences for amplification and so the audiologist is able to adjust the hearing aid from its prescription when required. 

Photo attribute: Siemans

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