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Auditory Deprivation and Dementia

Thursday, January 11, 2018 3:57:14 PM Asia/Calcutta

Are you suffering from hearing loss and are delaying auditory checkups or not wearing hearing aids regularly? If so then stop everything now and visit an auditory clinic at once! Don’t put aside your audiologist nor your hearing aids. If you neglect your hearing disorders, then a time may come when you will completely lose your hearing abilities.

We get to hear when the sound waves are received by the eardrum, and are transferred to the brain. These sound waves are then processed in the speech interpretation centre of the brain, and are converted into recognisable language. If, however, the brain stops receiving these sound signals for a prolonged period of time, it leads to auditory deprivation. This means that, if the person is not hearing anything for a very long time, then he or she gradually loses the ability to hear and understand speech and language.

The condition occurs to people who use weak and old hearing aids, or even improperly fitted ones. It also occurs when a person having hearing problems does not get regular checkups or are not willing to opt hearing aids at all. Therefore, you should get your ears checked by audiologists, and get all types of hearing loss problems treated as soon as possible. The longer you delay, the shorter are the chances to prevent auditory deprivation, which has irreversible effects on the patient.

As prolonged delay in hearing loss treatment causes auditory deprivation, there is a gradual increase in the risks of dementia, which is a phenomenon in which the brain loses the ability to think and remember properly. The symptoms include anxiety, restlessness, emotional problems, disturbed mental balance, demotivation, sleep disturbances, speech and language difficulties, trouble in eating or swallowing, abnormal behaviour, memory distortions, and even hallucinations. Dementia is almost an irreversible disease and, therefore, it needs to be prevented. Since auditory deprivation is a cause of dementia, the hearing impaired persons should not delay in getting a hearing treatment done. The key to avoiding auditory deprivation is to keep the auditory system stimulated.

To conclude, do not hesitate in getting an auditory check-up and wearing hearing aids. Nowadays, hearing aids have become so advanced that people would hardly feel that they are having hearing impairments. Modern hearing aids are not only reducing in size, but are also bundled with so many technologically advanced features, that one would love to wear one. So consult your Audiologist today, and step towards taking proper care of your hearing health, as it is an extremely vital part of your life.

Comments | Posted in Hearing Aids By Phalguni Bannerjee

Cheap Hearing Aids Online - Is it Safe?

Monday, January 8, 2018 6:16:48 PM Asia/Calcutta

It is widely observed that while people try to cuttle down on the cost of hearing aids, they are lacking behind in the wide range of technological features that most of these devices have to provide. As a result, they are not deriving maximum benefit from the cheap ones. These can only run for a short time, after which you have to make small investments, which amounts to a huge sum altogether.

Buying cheap hearing aids online without consultation from any recognised Audiologist is not at all recommended. Although they can save your pocket for the time-being, but in the long run, they will cost you way more money than a good quality device. In no way will the cheap devices offer better quality of sound. If you do a one-time investment in a good quality hearing aid by releasing a little more of your savings, it will take care of you in the long run, in every aspect, namely physical, mental and financial. Avoid opting for cheap hearing aids online or from local stores, without prior consultation.

There are a host of disadvantages of buying cheap hearing aids online. These abuses include unrealistic expectations, overlooking the role of motivation, inappropriate binaural fittings, and failure to balance hearing aids between ears in symmetrical hearing losses. Other disadvantages include unavailability of warranty and/or extended warranty, unavailability of proper after-sale services, poor product quality, and many more. Also, one cannot get the advanced and customized technological features in the cheap ones. Investing in cheap hearing aids online might even have reverse effects on the user, like the hearing loss getting more severe. The obvious reason for this is that these devices are not so efficient, and may not function properly. If the brain does not receive sound signals properly for a long time, then it might even stop recognizing them. This in turn may gradually lead to Auditory Deprivation, which increases the risks of Dementia - a state when the concerned person suffers from mental disbalances and forgetfulness. Auditory Deprivation and Dementia are irreversible and once a person reaches these stages, he/she suffers from various complications, both physically and mentally.

There is another reason for not supporting the idea of purchasing cheap hearing aids online, which is that not every hearing devices work for everybody. You cannot decide for yourself, without consulting your Audiologist, whether the particular device you are thinking of buying will suit you. Also, no Audiologist would ever recommend buying cheap hearing aids online.

Another fact related to investing in cheap hearing aids online or from local stores without consulting a certified Audiologist is that, one has to invest in them a lot more. If the overall investment made in cheap devices is calculated, then it is seen that it becomes way more than the one-time investment done in good quality hearing aids. Therefore, it is strictly advised against making fruitless investments in cheap hearing aids online. Always consult a professional Audiologist before making any final decision, because only your Audiologist will choose the right type of hearing aid for you after making a detailed analysis of the type and the severity of your hearing.

Comments | Posted in Cheap hearing aids By Phalguni Bannerjee

How Digital Technology Has Changed Modern Hearing Aids

Monday, January 8, 2018 6:08:44 PM Asia/Calcutta

As the saying goes, “Necessity is the mother of all inventions”, the need to communicate better and to live a better life has acted as a driving force for technological advancements. With the advancement of technology, hearing aids are making great modifications which were just a dream in the past few decades. Previously the analog listening devices amplified every single sound which is often very annoying for the user. The advanced digital hearing aids can distinguish between speech and noise and provides a clear speech by reducing background noise. Today, these digital devices can provide a wide range of features that will improve your quality of life.

Although both the Analog and the Digital hearing aids have the same components - microphone, amplifier and receiver, the latter is packed with many advanced technological features. The first important step towards digitization of listening devices is the development of the technology of sound signals being converted to digital signals. It provides greater room for flexibility and thus, the digital hearing aids of this day comes bundled in greater number of features. In these devices, the sounds that it receives are separated into a sequence of sections. Each of the sections are then processed digitally and are then converted back into sound signals that can actually be ‘heard’ by the user. To better understand the technology used in modern day digital hearing aids, let us have a glance at its history.

The history of the digitization of sound goes back to World War II, when there was a need for developing a secure telephone link between Washington and London. The main aim of this project, known as the Project X, is to develop a method to digitize speech signals. It was done by securely encrypting the sound signals being transferred over the telephone lines, and this encryption was done by representing these signals as a sequence of binary digits, that is, 0s and 1s. Similar is the technology of today’s digital hearing aids.

To understand the use of modern technology in this generation’s digital hearing aids, let us have a look at a brief about channels and bands. The hearing aid channel, which is chiefly used in digital hearing aids, is characterized by filtering the sound by breaking the total speech frequency range into several smaller segments and then filtering each segment individually. The more the channels, the more is the flexibility to control the different sound frequency ranges by the device.

To understand channels better, let us discuss what bands used in different digital hearing aids are, and how are they different from these channels. Let us take a simple example of the overhead water tank. Water from the tank are being distributed to various lines or channels, which are then regulated by respective taps fitted at the end of each channel. These taps can be paralleled with bands in digital hearing aids, which control the flow of water (or sound frequency range). We adjust the taps according to our needs. Similarly, the channels are controlled or regulated by bands. In other words, the different sound frequencies received by digital hearing aids can be controlled by regulating the bands as per the type and degree of hearing loss of the user. Before channels turned out, the hearing devices used to amplify all the sounds the same, as seen in Analog ones.

The development of digital hearing aids followed the usual trial and error methods, and today it is still developing with new features coming to the forefront. It can be paralleled with the development of computer generations over the past few decades. In listening devices as well, Vacuum Tubes were used previously, and now nano chips or microprocessors are being used that not only save a great amount of space, but also makes room for a vast memory and storage. This is the reason why digital hearing aids have the capacity to store numerous programs and the user can switch between them according to his/her needs and surroundings. Also, these microprocessors can detect whether the sound is a speech or a noise and makes certain modifications accordingly to deliver a clear sound. Nowadays, digital hearing aids come with advanced features like feedback cancellation, noise reduction, precise amplification, bluetooth, FM and other wireless connectivities, and many more.

To conclude, digital hearing aids is a major technological breakthrough of the modern day. Although the first digital hearing aids were just modified versions of the Analog ones, the present day devices are so advanced that it can make the user completely forget about his/her hearing impairment.

Comments | Posted in Digital Hearing Aids By Phalguni Bannerjee

Hearing Loss: Early signs and Treatment

Thursday, January 4, 2018 3:40:59 PM Asia/Calcutta

Hearing loss is the inability to hear partially or completely in either one or both the ears. Hearing impairment can be temporary or permanent, depending on the type and degree of hearing loss. It occurs when sound signals are unable to reach the brain due to some blockage or damage in the ear. Hearing loss is caused when the threshold level (minimum hearing ability of a person) exceeds 25 dB (decibel). If the treatment of hearing loss is not done on time, it might lead to serious consequences, like social isolation, inability to communicate, delayed language development, stress, anxiety, depression, Tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and even Dementia. Hence, one should not delay in getting a proper treatment of hearing loss.

There are certain symptoms that call for immediate help and the person should go for a treatment of hearing loss. If you see the following early signs, then it is probable that you have a hearing loss, which calls for immediate help:

  • Softening of speech and other sounds

  • Sudden loss of hearing, particularly in one ear

  • Difficulty understanding conversation, especially in a noisy environment

  • Difficulty hearing consonant sounds

  • Frequently asking others to slow down, and to speak clearly and loudly

  • Frequently turning up the volume of the TV or radio above the normal volume

  • Refusing to participate in conversations

  • Withdrawing oneself from social gatherings

Hearing Plus, a recognized Auditory clinic, is considered to be providing the best treatment of hearing loss in India. The brand specializes in various rehabilitative services like hearing aid trial and fitting, hearing aid reprogramming, Auditory training, Auditory verbal therapy and speech therapy. Apart from these, it also offers several diagnostic and electrophysiological tests performed by professional Audiologists, both for adults and children (including newborns). The brand also provides surgical services like cochlear implant to persons suffering from severe to profound hearing loss.

 

If you have these symptoms, it's high time that you must visit a skilled and professional Audiologist and undergo a treatment of hearing loss.

Treatment of hearing loss varies from person to person depending on the type and degree of hearing loss. There are mainly three types of hearing loss, namely Conductive, Sensorineural and Mixed. Degrees of hearing loss are of five types, namely, mild, moderate, moderately severe, severe and profound. Also, based on the age of onset, hearing loss is of two types - Congenital (when one is born with a hearing disability) and b) Acquired (when one acquires hearing impairment gradually in his lifetime). The general steps involving treatment of hearing loss include some diagnostic tests like pure tone Audiometry, Tympanometry, Speech Audiometry, Eustachian Tube Function test, OAE, ABR/BERA, ASSR, and general screening tests. Treatment of hearing loss vary based on the severity of hearing loss, and also on the age of the person. It includes fitting of hearing aids, cochlear implantations and other surgical procedures, medications, various therapies like Auditory verbal therapy, speech therapy and many more. It is, therefore, upto your medical/healthcare professional which treatment would he/she prescribe for you.

Hearing aid devices vary depending on the specific requirements of the patient. They can be of multiple types, serving different functions and can be categorised based on design, the technology used and the features they provide.

Although, no treatment of hearing loss can ever replace the natural God-gifted ear, it has become advanced these days, and people suffering from hearing loss can regain his/her beautiful days of life. Hence, one should not keep oneself away from these hassle-free treatments, and proceed towards improving their quality of life.

Comments | Posted in Treatment Of Hearing Loss By Phalguni Bannerjee

Hearing Aids are No Longer Devices for Simply Amplifying Sound

Thursday, January 4, 2018 2:29:03 PM Asia/Calcutta

With the advancement of technology, hearing aids are receiving the flavour of modernization and digitization since the past few decades. Previously people could hardly dream of a listening device that can store customized programs. But today the scenario of hearing devices has completely changed with the introduction of new features, advanced functions and stylish designs.

The development of listening devices paralleled with that of computers. The first electronic hearing aids were extremely large and sat on the table. Gradually over time, digital hearing aids came to the forefront with a vast range of features. Digital hearing aids are an advancement over the Analog ones as the latter amplified every sound that they received, without differentiating between speech and noise. This often disturbs the smooth flow of the listening experience of the hearing impaired person. Digital hearing aids on the other hand, separate the analog sound signals into various sections, analyse each of them and finally convert them into digital signals. These digital signals are modified and converted back to sound signals that are understandable by the user. Therefore, digital hearing aids not only amplify sound, but deliver sound in a very natural way that can be soothing for the person wearing it.

The transformation of hearing aids began with the development of digital computers. While the previously used Vacuum Tubes took up large spaces, today’s microprocessors not only save space, but also have the capacity to store more memory. Thus, the digital hearing aids have reduced in size, and can be absolutely hidden in the ear canal. Also, they are much more efficient, fast, programmable, and the best part is that, these digital hearing aids have wireless connectivities. Most of them have the ability to store the customized programs of the user, which can be switched between using a remote control or by pushing a simple button.

The first digital hearing aids, however, were just modified versions of the previous Analog ones, and lacked most of the features of this day digital devices. As the requirements of the people changed, more and more advanced features were introduced into the digital hearing aids, which created a new era in the developmental history of listening devices. The history of digital hearing aids, however, dates back to the period of World War II, when there was a pressing need for developing a secure telephone line between Washington and London. It was when speech was first digitized by converting analog signals into binary ones, represented as 0s and 1s. This technology paved the way for an increased amount of flexibility in digital hearing aids - the milestones of listening devices.

 

Digital hearing aids are very technologically advanced as they convert the sound waves to digital signals, which make hearing experience much better. These devices can be customised and regulated by the user according to his/her needs. This technology makes an exact replication of each and every sound. The key benefits of digital hearing aids include, greater precision in fitting it into the ear, feedback and noise reduction, sleeker design, and a much longer lifespan. Hearing Plus, a recognized brand, offers very productive digital hearing aids.

The epoch-making features of digital hearing aids are many. Let us have a quick glance at them.

  • Amplitude compression - In this technology, the incoming audio signals are separated into distinct frequency band sections. The bands in the digital hearing aids are so adjusted so that the weak sounds receive more amplification and the intense sounds are less amplified.

  • Multi-Channel architecture - The more the channels in digital hearing aids, the more is the flexibility in controlling the quality of sound.

  • Programmability - These devices store the preferred programs and the user can switch between them.

  • Acoustic feedback reduction - The digital hearing aids have the ability to reduce feedback, such as whistling sounds, that often affects hearing.

  • Noise reduction - These modern aids can also detect whether a sound is a speech or a noise, and delivers it accordingly, by amplifying only the speech and reducing background noise.

  • Compatible with Bluetooth, Fm and other wireless technology, and even Internet connections - These days people have turned completely digital, so why should the hearing aids be left out?

  • Innovative new designs - Digital hearing aids these days come in very sleek and stylish designs that are extremely admirable.

  • Larger lifespan - These aids last much longer than the Analog ones, as they come in waterproof casings.


To conclude, hearing aids have undergone a massive change in the past few decades and today they are much more complex. While previously they were huge machines to be kept on the tabletop, today the digital hearing aids are not only wearable, but can lay completely hidden inside the ear canal of the hearing impaired person, which is so comfortable for them that they completely forget about their hearing impairment. Today, listening devices are so advanced that they can detect the real-world listening scenario and modify and filter the sounds accordingly. The development of digital hearing aids began slowly, but gained momentum with the technological advancements.

Comments | Posted in Digital Hearing Aids By Phalguni Bannerjee
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