Small, but Strong: the Way to Better Hearing

If you have difficulty understanding what is being said in a discussion or against a background of ambient noise, if you can no longer hear the birds twittering or leaves rustling, or if friends and relatives tell you your TV is too loud - then you should seek professional medical advice. The doctor will clarify whether you suffer from hearing loss and whether this can be dealt with by medication or a surgical procedure. If it cannot, there are a lot of ultramodern hearing systems available today. A hearing aid will enable you to live life to the full, with tedious questioning and misunderstanding becoming a thing of the past. Family and friends will not have to speak loudly any more. A hearing aid is no longer a stigma - there are too many good reasons for one!

Almost invisible

Modern hearing systems are reliable and, unlike in the past, extremely small, light and comfortable. They are individually adapted to the ear. They are much less conspicuous than, say, a pair of spectacles. The most common are tiny behind-the-ear systems, which direct the sound into the ear by means of an almost invisible, transparent plastic tube. There are also in-the-ear devices; the smallest of them as good as vanish in the ear canal.

Deaf people or almost deaf people with abnormal or damaged sensory hair cells will find a hearing aid no help to them. If their auditory nerve is intact, however, they may benefit from a cochlear implant. This stimulates the nerve in the ear directly. It is suitable for people who become deaf as small children or in the course of their life, say, due to degeneration of the auditory nerve - whose brain has not "forgotten" how to hear, therefore.

Stylish

Some people, by contrast, use a hearing aid like an earring - as a fashion accessory that has an interesting design and colour. Its image has changed. Because nowadays a lot of young people are affected, too, hearing aids are no longer associated with age-related deafness as they were previously.

Technically sophisticated

Modern hearing systems are high-tech devices involving digital technology like a CD player. The sound is brilliant and undisturbed. It can be tuned to individual requirements. Hearing aids today are also "intelligent" - they allow background noise to be blocked out. Programs, activated at the touch of a button or automatically, can, for example, reduce the echo in a church. The hearing aid audiologist tries out various appliances with the customer. The audiologist can simulate typical acoustic situations and their sounds.

Modern hearing systems can be adjusted for volume by means of a remote control, which sometimes is integrated in a wristwatch. Many hearing aids can also be controlled by infrared radiation, radio or induction loop amplifier. Thus the appliance can be connected directly to a mobile phone or TV set with the aid of a cordless transmitter. With duplex hearing systems, both appliances receive the signal. Many public buildings have signal generators.

Affordable

There are good appliances for every budget. Your hearing aid audiologist or local healthcare system can inform you about the benefits.