December 14, 2019

Hearing Aids and Artificial Intelligence

Hearing Aids and Artificial Intelligence

While hearing loss is a common issue, some people feel ashamed that it has happened to them. There is no reason to feel this way, as treatment methods are available to help improve the quality of your life. A trained audiologist can help point you in the right direction.

Types of Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is a common issue. Issues with hearing can typically be detected through professional hearing evaluations. These evaluations will determine which type of hearing loss is present and what treatment solutions will be available to that individual. There are three different types of hearing loss, all of which can be treated. However, hearing loss is a permanent condition. Hearing loss treatment options can provide those experiencing hearing impairment to regain a positive quality of life back.

Conductive Hearing Loss

Conductive hearing loss happens when there is an obstruction in the ear, causing sound not to be able to reach the inner ear properly. This could be due to something as simple as too much ear wax to something more severe like a ruptured eardrum. A hearing specialist will be able to determine what is causing the obstruction and provide you with treatment solutions. Most of these treatment solutions involve procedures or medications to alleviate the problem.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

This type of hearing loss happens when the cochlea is not able to properly send signals to the brain. The cochlea is the organ inside your ear that allows you to hear. This type of hearing loss is the most common and is typically due to the natural aging process. However, certain diseases and exposure to extremely loud noises can cause this type of hearing loss as well. Hearing aids are usually the most preferred solution for this type of hearing loss.

Mixed Hearing Loss

Mixed hearing loss is exactly what it sounds like. Mixed hearing loss refers to when both conductive hearing loss and sensorineural hearing loss is present.

Challenges Those with Hearing Loss Face

There are several challenges that those with hearing loss will face. This is why it is pertinent that those suffering from hearing loss seek out the help that they need. Hearing loss is nothing to be ashamed of and is a common issue. A professional audiologist can help provide you with treatment options for your needs.

Loss of Independence

Suffering from a hearing impairment can mean that you are also experiencing a loss of independence. Often, those with hearing loss will have to rely on others in order to be able to know what is going on around them. They may want key aspects of their favorite tv show relayed to them or something someone said over the one repeated several times. While this not only is a loss of independence, it can also put a strain on personal relationships. As time goes on, friends and family may become frustrated or overwhelmed.


Those who cannot hear properly often suffer from depression. This is typically because of the major life changes that result from not being able to hear, such as a loss of independence and increased emotional strain. Suffering from hearing loss can take a toll on a person emotionally, causing them to distance themselves from friends and family. Communication is the basis of almost all relationships. Without a means to communicate, withholding relationships may prove to be more challenging.

Social Isolation

Not being able to hear properly can cause someone to socially isolate themselves. This could be due to a few different reasons. Straining to hear certain voices or noises can cause someone to feel overworked and tired, causing them to leave social situations early. They may also not like relying on others in order to hear.

Hearing Aids with Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence completely redefines a hearing aid’s capabilities, making them more user friendly and adaptable. Hearing aids built with AI have the ability to adapt and make changes, almost as if they were learning. These changes can be programmed into settings that a user would be able to choose at a later date. These settings help the user adjust to the environment and noise levels with ease.

How Can Hearing Aids Help Those with Hearing Loss?

Hearing aids provide a multitude of benefits for those suffering from hearing loss. Hearing aids provide users with a means to form connections and communicate with those around them, as well as listen to the happenings that surround them. This improves their quality of life by decreasing their need to rely on others and limited their emotional strain. A professional audiologist can help to match them to a preferred solution.

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Take a moment to recall the last time you were part of a social activity. What are some of your memories? Not all social activities are happy and relaxing, but there’s one that that they tend to have in common: connection. When we engage in social activities we are reminded of the ways we are connected to those in our families, friendships, and communities. However, for those who haven’t had a social activity in a while, this lack of connection can be a key problem. Rather than focusing on the detriments of a lack of social activity for seniors, let’s focus on the positive benefits that seniors can receive from more social activity. Not only do they take the form of direct benefits such as feelings of connection, they also have indirect effects on your mental and physical health. After considering the wide range of benefits to be achieved from these social connections, let’s imagine the many ways it is possible to expand the range of connections.

Mental Health and Social Life

When we are connected to others, a number of effects take place in our mental health. In the first place, we are generally reminded that others share our experiences. These reminders put us in the mental space to acknowledge that we are not alone. Similarly, social connections can relieve feelings of anxiety. When we are isolated our heads can spin into feelings of confusion, fear, and mixed expectations. Being with others can be grounding, serving as a reminder of how much others are going through. Finally, social life can improve symptoms of depression. Although it can feel like the most difficult thing to socialize when we are depressed, it can have a profound positive effect on depressive symptoms to spend a little time with others.

The Physical Benefits of Social Activity

It might come as a surprise, but there are physical benefits to social activity, as well. In the first place, simply getting out of the house introduces physical activity into our daily routines. Moving through the world to social events can be remarkably beneficial for our energy levels and mobility. In addition to this direct physical effect of social life, there are other more surprising connections, including reduced risk for Alzheimer’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, some forms of cancer, osteoporosis, and cardiovascular problems. Add to the list that nutrition is often improved when we eat with others in social contexts. These social benefits in the realm of physical health lead us to believe that we stand to gain more that feelings of connection when we are actively social.

How to Improve Your Social Life

If you are a senior who finds your social life dwindling, there are some basic steps you can take to get connected. One of the simplest things you can do is to reconnect with old friends and family members with whom you’ve lost touch. Take a quick scroll through your address book or calendar from past years. You are likely to find people listed there with whom you can connect, and you’ll be surprised how easy it can be to pick up and reconnect. Simply making a call is all it may take before you have a new lunch date or are even planning a trip with someone. Sometimes more casual connections are all it takes to feel like your social life has improved. Clubs are a great resource for these kinds of connections, and there are many organizations oriented around your favorite activities and hobbies. If you like crafts, mechanics, or political affairs, simply do a little digging and a club or organization is sure to turn up. Finally, physical activity is an excellent way to integrate all these benefits into a single activity. Take, for instance, an exercise class. With regular attendance, you are sure to reap the physical, emotional, and directly social benefits that have proven effects. When taken in combination, you will be surprised at how good you feel, and the connections tend to multiply. Why hesitate to take action toward stronger social activities? You will not regret it when you feel the support of a strong community around you once again.

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Common Excuses for Not Buying Hearing Aids
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Common Excuses for Not Buying Hearing Aids

If you suspect that your loved one is developing hearing loss, you have likely already heard one or a combination of these excuses for refusing to seek assistance. Often these excuses work in concert with one another, and the struggle to convince a family member or loved one can require logical cartwheels. Knowing some of the most common excuses can help you understand where your loved one is coming from and also to encourage solutions rather than living with limitations.

My Hearing Isn’t That Bad

Perhaps the most common response when confronted with hearing loss is the claim that hearing isn’t that bad and that a person can make do without assistance. Although many people satisfice in the context of limited hearing ability, why continue to struggle with limitations when assistance options are available? The only way to know how bad hearing ability has become is to get a hearing exam by a licensed professional. With this information in hand, you will have a sense not only how your hearing measures up to population averages but also how much you can hear relative to your own starting point.

I’m Getting Along Fine

The partner of the first excuse is the idea that a person can get along fine without hearing aids. Although some people are able to find remarkable work-arounds to complete their daily tasks, there are serious health effects associated with untreated hearing loss. Not only can hearing limitations create a physical risk, they can also lead to mental health problems, emotional burdens, and even cognitive strain. Your loved one might feel like the situation is sufficient, but just imagine how much better life might be with adequate hearing ability. Conversations can be restored to a fluid back-and-forth, information can travel freely, and the stress of not knowing if you will be able to communicate in a given situation can be relieved.

Hearing Aids Are Too Expensive

It is true that hearing aids are a serious investment in your wellbeing, but there are often solutions to make them more affordable. Some forms of insurance cover all or part of the purchase of hearing aids, and other financing options are available, as well. The bigger question might be one of priorities. Knowing that hearing assistance can restore relationships, conversations, and relieve mental anxieties, your loved one might be undervaluing their own health and wellbeing.

Hearing Aids Are Frustrating to Use

In the past, hearing aids were nascent technology with lots of bugs to work out. You may have seen someone struggling with hearing aids, trying to adjust the volume levels or cancel out squealing feedback. Others in the past found that manual dexterity issues or arthritis got in the way of inserting or removing aids. The new features of hearing aids make it possible to remedy many of these frustrating aspects in the past. Some hearing aids are connected to smartphone apps that allow you to easily change volume levels, even setting profiles for different locations or types of events. The latest hearing aids come in all shapes and sizes, making it much easier to deal with them comfortably.

Hearing Aids Don’t Work

Maybe your loved one knows someone who had a bad experience with hearing aids. Perhaps this person was unhappy with the amount of assistance received or the trouble that came along with the aids. Although hearing aids don’t promise 100% success for all users, their effectiveness is improving rapidly, and most people with hearing loss find a powerful improvement to their daily lives. The only way to know if they will give you the assistance you seek is to give hearing aids a try.Don’t let one or more of these excuses get in the way of solutions. If your loved one is hesitant to get hearing aids for these or other reasons, perhaps the first step is the simplest. Getting a hearing test is easy, quick, and painless, so why not make an appointment right away. There is no harm in understanding your current hearing ability, and this baseline exam can be helpful to track future hearing ability, as well. If you discover a need for hearing aids, your hearing health professional can assist you in taking the next steps.

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