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. Data suggests that when 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 mechanism and listening habits, because the hearing-impaired person’s brain might not be receiving the kind of stimulation it needs in order to maintain its proper function without the use of hearing devices and appropriate aural rehabilitation following fitting. 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 rule of thumb is the sooner you treat hearing loss - the better the success you will have retraining your brain to hear - even in difficult or noisy situations. When a patient experiences hearing loss (either conductive from an ear infection or sensorineural from exposure to loud noise or just natural deterioration in hearing), the effect is greatest on the auditory cortex. The purpose of a hearing aid is to stimulate the auditory system in a way (following a prescription method) to train the brain to hear sounds it has not heard in years. Technology has advanced significantly in the past year with changes to noise algorithm in hearing aids that many patients meet with great success in treating their hearing loss.