There are several different levels of hearing loss. Some people have a mild form of the condition that prevents them from hearing whispers or the sound of birdsong unassisted. Others have a more severe type that stops them from hearing loud noises and, sometimes, anything at all.
The hearing aid that is best for you depends very much on the nature and extent of your condition. While there are many hearing aid options, the particular model you select will depend on your individual health needs.
What is severe hearing loss?
Severe hearing loss isn’t just a description of somebody who has a hard time hearing; it is a well-defined and measurable condition. Medics diagnose somebody with hearing loss if they struggle to detect sounds under 60dB. Most conversations occur in the 60dB range, so people with severe hearing loss need hearing aids to carry out a conversation.
Profound hearing loss is the next level up from severe. A person with this type of hearing loss struggles to hear noises below 80dB. Sometimes they cannot hear somebody shouting at them.
The best hearing aids for severe hearing loss
The best type of hearing aid for severe hearing loss is behind the ear (BTE).
The reason for this has to do with the current state of technology. People with severe loss of hearing need more powerful hearing aid speakers and features. That means that they also require larger batteries to supply the necessary energy. Smaller devices exist, but they’re usually not appropriate in this context. BTE devices are the only form factor that provides real estate to house all of the essential components.
Thus, in-the-canal and completely-in-the-canal devices probably aren’t suitable for people with severe and profound hearing loss. While these hearing aids are great for people with mild hearing loss, they don’t provide the necessary level of features or applications for somebody with a more extreme form of the condition.
BTE devices are the most common form of hearing aid on the market right now – and the one that has been around for the longest. Most come in three sections – a speaker that sits in the ear canal, a microphone and battery that fit behind the ear, and a tube connecting the two. In-the-canal and completely-in-the-canal devices do not separate the two parts from each other. Instead, the whole device slots into the ear hole.
Many BTE devices for people with severe loss of hearing come with potent components designed to amplify sounds much more. Vendors will often label these products high power or superpower to drive the point home.
It is worth pointing out, though, how important it is to see a hearing instrument specialist if you are considering one of these hearing aids. Getting adequate amplification is good, but you also want to make sure that the volume is at the correct level for your circumstances. Unless you get professional calibration, you can wind up with hearing aids that are too loud.
Additional hearing aid features for severe hearing loss
Besides the high-powered microphone and speakers, modern BTE hearing aids come with a host of features designed to make sensible the audible world easier.
Directional microphones are great for people who find it difficult to determine the direction of incoming sounds. These pick up incoming noises and then interpret them in a way that provides the wearer with information about where it is coming from, just like natural hearing.
Directional microphones are also a critical tool for helping you listen to somebody in a noisy room. It cancels out the incoming sound and instead amplifies the voice of the person sitting in front of you.
BTE devices come with a host of additional features that could make your life easier. These include:
- Smart software that adjusts settings as you transition between different noise environments
- Wireless technology that allows you to listen to media directly, bypassing the microphone
- In-build FM radio
- Vibration features and shaker alarms
- Emergency assistance with gesture control
Choosing a hearing aid when you have severe loss of hearing
Choosing a hearing aid when you have severe or profound loss of hearing can be a challenge. There are many technologies on the market from which to choose.
If you’re stuck and need some help, then why not get in touch with our friendly team today? We can show you all your options and help you find the best fit.
Call Coastal Hearing Center today at 843-979-3888 for more information.