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Hearing ability is very important for understanding speech and for a wide variety of other functions such as detecting warning alarms and listening to music. When the abnormal or damaged auditory system is not directly reparable through surgical or medical means, a wide variety of advanced hearing devices is available that can improve these functions, very often quite dramatically.
With the proper selected, fitted and adjusted hearing device, patients with any degree of hearing loss from very mild to total deafness can achieve hearing functions that were not attainable previously. Because these devices generally do not restore the underlying abnormal auditory structures, the sense of hearing is not restored to its natural normal state. However, these devices can optimize or even replace the remaining hearing function and improve hearing ability such that significant life style changes often occur.
Patients whose hearing has deteriorated sufficiently to prevent them from easily communicating with others, in particular, family members, can rejoin the world of easy and natural communication often restoring communication ability to its previous functional state. Patients who were deaf now can detect sounds and understand speech once again.
Virtually everyone with a permanent hearing deficit may benefit from the use of advanced hearing devices. If you are not able to hear sounds within the normal range needed to fully hear and understand speech in normal conversational situations, you should consider being evaluated for the benefits of new, high technology advanced hearing devices.
What are hearing devices?
Hearing aids are electronic or battery-operated devices that can amplify and change sound. A microphone receives the sound and converts it into sound waves. The sound waves are then converted into electrical signals.
Who may be a candidate for hearing aids?
Hearing loss affects nearly 30 million people in the US each year. Hearing aids can help improve hearing and speech especially in persons with sensorineural hearing loss (hearing loss in the inner ear due to damaged hair cells or a damaged hearing nerve). Sensorineural hearing loss can be caused by noise, injury, infection, aging, certain medications, birth defects, tumors, problems with blood circulation or high blood pressure, and stroke.
Anyone who has hearing loss that may be improved with hearing aids can benefit from these devices. The type of hearing aid recommended may depend on several factors, including, but not limited to:
The shape of the outer ear (deformed ears may not accommodate behind-the-ear hearing aids)
Depth of depression near the ear canal (too shallow ears may not accommodate in-the-ear hearing aids)
The type and severity of hearing loss
The manual dexterity of the individual to remove and insert hearing aids
The amount of wax build-up in the ear (excessive amounts of wax or moisture may prevent use of in-the-ear hearing aids)
Ears that require drainage may not be able to use certain hearing aid models
The Stanford Medicine Online Second Opinion program offers you easy access to our world-class doctors. It’s all done remotely and you don’t have to visit our hospital or one of our clinics for this service. You don’t even need to leave home!