Evaluation for Hearing Aids
We don’t listen with our ears, we listen with our brain. Research indicates that loss of hearing produces physical changes in auditory pathways to the brain. When an individual has hearing loss, and parts of the auditory pathways and cortex are not receiving sufficient stimulation, they actually undergo morphological changes (and these changes are not good ones). Thus, the old adage of “use it or lose it” actually applies to our auditory system. The hearing-impaired person’s auditory system and brain might not be receiving the type of stimulation it needs in order to maintain its proper function, without the use of hearing devices and appropriate aural rehabilitation. The best analogy to explain this principle is "amplification (hearing aids) to hearing loss is like physiotherapy to an injury". A hearing aid is an amazing piece of technology that is used to treat hearing loss just as physiotherapy is recommended to help restore mobility to an injury. The sooner you treat hearing loss - the better the success you will have retraining your brain to hear - even in difficult or noisy situations. Patients may have different types of hearing loss, caused by different factors, but because the auditory system starts at the outer ear and ends at the brain, the greatest effect is on the auditory cortex. The purpose of a hearing aid is to stimulate the auditory system in a way (following a prescription method) that trains the brain to hear sounds it has not heard in years. Technology has advanced significantly in recent years, allowing for great success in treating hearing loss.
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