Modern hearing aids can be used to correct hearing damage and significantly improve communication options for the hard of hearing. Photo: Xaver Aerni, Wikipedia
Read aloud Around 15 million people in Germany are affected by hearing loss. Many notice their deficits very late. Remedy in most cases only a hearing aid. Today, the technology is so well developed that it can be adapted to almost any patient and every listening situation. In a jumble of voices, sounding glasses and music, many people struggle to follow the words of their counterpart. In Germany, 15 million people suffer from hearing loss. Many of them retire from society, avoid pubs and festivals where background noise is loud and many guests speak at the same time. But where hearing aids failed earlier, modern variants can now help to significantly improve the communication options and thus the quality of life of the hearing impaired.

People with hearing loss can choose from a range of hearing aid types. Devices that are worn in the pinna or in the ear canal, take the sound particularly natural because the microphone is placed near the ear canal, says Marianne Frickel, President of the Federal Guild of Hearing Aid Acousticians. Due to the small distance between the microphone and the receiver, the sound can not be amplified arbitrarily - the acoustic feedback would be heard by the wearer as unpleasant whistling.

For this reason, heavier hearing loss must be corrected with models in which the microphone is in a housing worn behind the ear and the amplified sound is transmitted through a fine tube into the ear. Behind-the-ear devices are suitable both for the correction of light and severe hearing loss and are to have as particularly inconspicuous skin-colored models as well as deliberately technically designed devices, so Frickel.

However, although fewer and fewer carriers hide their hearing aids and are open to their disability, many people with hearing loss still turn to an ear specialist very late. The reason: Because hearing loss progresses insidiously, many sufferers are long unaware that they hear bad. They usually only realize it when they are made aware of their bad ear by fellow human beings. display

"But the later a hearing-impaired person begins to wear a hearing aid, the more difficult it becomes to deal with it, " says Doris Hartwig-Bade, second chairwoman of the German Professional Association of Otolaryngologists. The brain of hearing-impaired people becomes accustomed to the quiet environment and no longer processes all the stimuli. Why many people often do not notice their hearing loss for so long, explains Hartwig-Bade with the fact that noises can not be repeated as a rule. A weak sight is much easier to recognize: Blurring the letters during newspaper reading, the same text can be read with a reading glasses.

If hearing aids are prescribed by an ear specialist, the Krankenhasse covers the costs of models in the lower price range up to an amount of around 420 euros. Today, even in these simple devices is mostly digital technology, but who wants to benefit from the many options of comfortable devices, must take appropriate additional costs as own contribution. Many comfort devices increase the frequency depending on the sound, so they can be individually adapted to the hearing. In some hearing aids, the wearer may choose from a variety of pre-set programs that are optimally tuned to different listening situations, such as a conversation in a particularly quiet or noisy environment.

Noise is also, according to Frickel, the most common problems that hearing aid wearers complain about. To avoid this, conversations and music can be transmitted directly to most hearing aids: so-called teleschlinge can be plugged into certain mobile phones, radios and televisions. They transmit the sound via an electromagnetic signal wirelessly to the T-coil installed in many hearing aids. According to the same principle, inductive signals can also be received by so-called ring circuits laid in theaters, churches and many public buildings. However, the transmission is sometimes susceptible to interference from external electromagnetic fields.

A better transmission quality and a greater range of action can be achieved with the FM technology used in broadcasting. For this purpose, a radio transmitter transmits, for example, the television sound directly to a small receiver, which can be placed on a suitable hearing aid. Some radio transmitters also transmit so-called Bluetooth signals from mobile phones: the telephone call partner can be switched directly to the hearing aid. However, radio technology also has its price. As Frickel says, the choice of hearing aid depends on personal needs. Hard of hearing people should therefore seek advice from hearing care professionals in choosing the right model.

ddp / science.de - Fabio Bergamin

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