Wearing hearing aids is as natural to me as wearing clothes. I was born hearing impaired and as far as I can remember I always had hearing aids; they were just an extension of my body. In my early kindergarten years it was a box I had to carry on my chest. Ear plugs were connected to it with long cables. In hot weather, this box became quite uncomfortable to wear. Surprisingly the amount of sweat pooling underneath it never caused it to short-circuit. Fortunately, as soon as I hit elementary school age, I was given behind-the-ear hearing aids. Those were a huge improvement and I have been wearing those types of hearing aids up until a few months ago.
My hearing loss has sadly been deteriorating over the years, up to a point where it was getting really hard to get the most out of a hearing aid. I had heard about cochlear implants earlier on, but back then I found them to be a rough technical solution. Like all technological inventions, however, cochlear implant technology is being continuously refined as time goes by.
As any technology has its limits, choosing to get a cochlear implant remained a hard decision. I have a good friend who got an implant a year ago and is showing remarkable performance, but that does not mean the same will occur with me or with anyone else.
The benefits of a cochlear implant vary greatly per person. It depends on your hearing history, your age, your language capabilities, your own personal investment, your social environment, and so forth. People who have lost hearing suddenly will profit more from a cochlear implant compared to those who were born with hearing difficulties. Deaf children with an implant will do better than deaf adults who just had a cochlear implant. If you are in an environment where sign language is the dominating communication tool, having a cochlear implant might provide some way to discern sounds, but will probably not improve oral communication. Continue reading “From A Hearing Aid To A Cochlear Implant”
Writing software is great!
You get to tell a computer, a machine, anything that holds some kind of electronic intelligence, what it should do. Isn’t that great and liberating?…
That is, until you start feeling selfish for repeatedly executing this demonstration of power. Then bringing your semiconductor pal into submission ceases to be funny.
Well, unless you do write code for a greater good.
Continue reading “Imagining the Future of Audiology and Fitting”
On National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered” recently was the story of a woman whose hearing problems were diagnosed at age 5, in 1993. She had moderate to severe loss of high- and low-frequency hearing, and got her first hearing aids — which were large and crude compared to today’s hearing-aid technology.
You can read or listen to the story here: “Hearing Aid Evolution Unveils What The World Sounds Like In ‘3-D’.”
Continue reading “How Exponential Growth in Computing Power Will Bring About ‘Magical’ Hearing Aids”
I marvel at the changes seen in the cosmetic design of hearing aids in the last twenty years. Hearing aids are now “cooler” in design, with fancy Bluetooth and wireless capabilities. They are more appealing than ever before–but the stigma remains. Sergi Kochkin rated fifty-three influencing improvements that could potentially persuade highly reluctant users to seek amplification for their hearing loss within the next two years:
Historically, the MarkeTrak survey has focused on obstacles to hearing purchase. We thought it would be of interest to present the hearing-impaired consumer with a number of improvements in four key areas: financial, hearing aid listening utility, product enhancements, and psycho-social changes.
The top influencing factor (for 2 out of 5 people) in the psycho-social category, ranking 15th overall, is convincing the potential consumer that the hearing aid is invisible, or nearly invisible. This strong desire for invisible hearing aids can only be from the negative stigma that society has placed on hearing aids.
Continue reading “The Highly Reluctant Consumer And The Invisible Hearing Aid”