Losing your hearing can be detrimental to your quality of life. For most people, it is one of the most important senses they have. Luckily, modern technology provides treatments for many forms of hearing loss.
Modern Hearing Technologies
Technology allows us to overcome many obstacles that were impassable to previous generations. Nowhere is this more evident than in the medical field. Many conditions that were once untreatable can now be managed easily.
If you are suffering from hearing loss, you probably feel desperate for any kind of relief. Today, there are many different technologies used to treat loss of hearing. Not all hearing loss is treatable, though.
Depending on the type of hearing loss and its severity, treatment options will vary.
The following technologies are all useful. Talk with your doctor about these treatment options if you believe you are suffering from a loss of hearing. It might be possible to get some relief.
Auditory Brains Stem Implants
One of the newest technologies in use is the auditory brainstem implant. These are surgically inserted into the patient. They directly stimulate the brainstem when the microphone detects sound.
Severe Auditory Nerve Damage:
These devices are the most useful when the ears function properly. If your ears do not have any damage, the hearing loss must come from nerve damage. These implants bypass the auditory nerve.
Profound Sensorineural Hearing Loss:
You can also use these if you have sensorineural hearing loss. When the cochlea cannot communicate effectively with the brain, these implants help bridge the gap.
Electrode is Placed on the the Brainstem:
A microphone placed near the user’s ear picks up sound from the environment. This sound is converted into an electrical signal, which is sent to a receiver on the brainstem. Once the signal arrives, it stimulates the brainstem.
Ability to Know When Sound is Present or Absent:
These devices allow users to detect the presence of sound. Most people cannot differentiate between sounds when they are wearing these. It’s not the perfect solution, but it does make lipreading much easier.
Bone Conduction Hearing Devices
These devices are one of two types of hearing aids that use vibration.
Bone conduction hearing devices are implanted surgically. They help transmit sound to the brain by vibrating the bones of the skull.
Bone Anchored Hearing Implants:
These devices are implanted into the patient’s ear canal. So, this is a common name for them by industry professionals.
Permanent Conductive Hearing Loss:
Bone anchored hearing implants are perfect for treating conductive hearing loss. This condition occurs when an issue with your outer or middle ear prevents hearing.
External Implant Sound Processor:
You can expect to have an external microchip placed somewhere near the entrance to your ear. These pickup sounds from your environment and converts them into an electrical signal.
The sound processor transmits the electrical signal to the surgically implanted component in your ear. This component produces vibrations that travel through your bone to stimulate the cochlea. Thus, you feel the sensation of sound.
Bone Conduction Hearing Aids
These hearing aids also use vibrations to conduct sound in your head. They are perfect for people that experience no benefit from traditional hearing aids. the biggest difference is that these are not surgically implanted
Create Vibrations That Move Across the Skull:
When these devices detect sound, they vibrate to conduct through your skull. Bones can conduct these vibrations easily. Once the vibrations reach the inner ear, they stimulate the hearing organ.
Hearing Aid Worn Behind the Ear:
You will have a traditional hearing aid that you wear around your ear. on this device, there is a microphone that listens for acoustic sound. When it is detected, electrical signals are generated.
Bone Vibrator on a Headband:
A hand band secures the vibrator to your skull. Some patients find this uncomfortable to ear for extended periods. The microphone sends electrical signals to the vibrate, which converts the signal into vibrations.
Often Best as a Temporary Solution:
The sound quality produced by this technology is inferior in comparison to other hearing technologies. Thus, making it the ideal temporary solution while you wait for surgery.
Cochlear implants are one of the oldest surgically implanted hearing devices. These integrate directly with the hearing organ of the ear. The cochlea is a delicate bundle of nerve fibers that transmits sound to the brainstem.
Severe Sensorineural Hearing Loss:
When you have hearing loss caused by nerve damage, these devices can often provide relief. Because they directly stimulate the cochlea, it bypasses any damage to your ear.
Microphone That Picks up Sounds:
An exterior microphone detects any environmental noises. Then, it turns those sounds into a digital data stream. This travels to the receiver, which has been implanted on the cochlea.
Receiver Inserted and Attached to the Skull:
The receiver is surgically implanted onto the bones of the skull. From there, several electrodes extend to interface with the cochlea. This stimulates the nerves when sound is detected.
Electrode Array is Put on the Cochlea to Produce the Sensation of Sound:
After the electrodes receive the signal, they activate. This causes them to produce electronic activity. This activity makes it possible to hear.
Hybrid Cochlear Implants
Hybrid cochlear implants are a specialty solution. They work best for people with specific high-frequency hearing loss. They use a combination of traditional hearing aid technology and cochlear implants.
This is the medical term for age-related hearing loss. As people grow older, they naturally lose the ability to hear. Typically, you lose sensitivity at the highest frequencies first.
High-Frequency Hearing Loss:
High-frequency hearing loss may be treatable using this technology. This type of hearing loss is characterized by the ability to understand lower frequencies sounds unimpeded.
The cochlear implant stimulates the cochlea by turning an acoustic signal into an electric one. As the cochlea receives this stimulation, the user perceives it as sound.
Acoustic Amplification Technology:
The traditional hearing aid technology uses acoustic implication. This is the same tech that underlies any microphone. It picks up the acoustic signal then amplifies it.
Middle Ear Implants
Middle ear implants are another specialty medical device. These are also surgically implanted into patients. It can be useful to reach a wide range of hearing loss.
Whether it is from nerve damage or something else, it may be a viable solution.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss:
You can treat hearing loss that is caused by damage to the auditory nerve system.
Conductive Hearing Loss:
If you have problems with the middle or outer ear, you might be able to solve them with this.
Detect Sounds by a Microphone:
As with many other treatments, a microphone listens for any sounds. When sounds are picked up by the microphone, an electronic signal originates from the device.
Electronic Signals Sent to the Stapes:
This time the electronic signal does not travel to the cochlea. Instead, it travels to a device that has been installed on the Stapes, a bone of the middle ear.
Translates the Signals into Vibrations:
The device on the Stapes receives the signal and converts it into vibrations. The stapes conduct these vibrations in much the same way as in natural hearing.
Most people are familiar with traditional types of hearing aids. These devices use acoustic technology to pick up noise from your environment. Then, they amplify this noise to make it more recognizable.
These are worn behind the ear. They are the oldest type of this tech still in production. Modern versions produce higher quality sound than the first generations of the technology.
Today, you can get these devices available in a much smaller size. They are less cumbersome, and other people can hardly see them.
These go inside the outer ear. You do not have to worry about them getting knocked off as easily as some of the other models.
You insert these into the ear canal. They are the least obstructive from the outside. Other people cannot tell you are wearing them.
These are often inserted by a medical professional. They produce the best quality sounds out of all the traditional hearing aid devices. It still relies on acoustic technology.
The Bottom Line on Restoring Lost Hearing
Repairing your hearing is of the utmost importance. When you first lose the ability to hear, it can be rather distressing. You do not realize how much of your life is centered around sound.
However, we are happy to say many people can effectively treat their hearing loss. Today, there are more technologies available to treat the condition than ever. Hopefully, you can find one that works for you.