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Adult Hearing Aid Services

For adults diagnosed with hearing loss, hearing aids may help to improve hearing in everyday situations. A hearing aid is an electronic device that can be worn inside or behind the ear. It amplifies sounds in the environment, including speech, so that they become louder and clearer to the hearing-impaired individual.

How does a hearing aid work?

A hearing aid has three basic parts: a microphone, amplifier and speaker. Sounds are picked up by the microphone, converted into electrical signals and sent to the amplifier. The amplifier increases the loudness of the signals and sends them to the ear through the speaker.

Styles of hearing aids

There are three basic styles of hearing aids. They differ in size, placement on/in the ear, and the amount of amplification they provide. The audiologist will recommend the most suitable style of hearing aid based on the patient's audiological configuration and needs. 

  • Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids are worn behind the ear and require the use of a custom-made ear mould. They are suitable for mild to profound hearing losses.
    A miniature version of the BTE called the slim-tube BTE is available. It fits behind the ear with a narrow plastic tube inserted in the ear canal and is suitable for mild to severe hearing losses.
  • Another miniature BTE hearing aid style called the receiver-in-canal (RIC) hearing aid is also available. Unlike the slim tube BTE, the RIC has a thin wire connected to a speaker unit that is inserted into the ear canal. It is suitable for mild to severe hearing losses.
  • Custom hearing aids include in-the-ear (ITE), in-the-canal (ITC) and completely-in-canal (CIC) hearing aids. ITE hearing aids are made to fit the outer ear completely and are suitable for adults with mild to moderately severe hearing losses. ITC and CIC hearing aids are made to the size and shape of the ear canal. Both types are suitable for adults with mild to moderate hearing losses.

Credits: Oticon


FAQ

1. How do I care for my hearing aid?
Your hearing aid comes with an instruction manual. Please read it carefully for tips on hearing aid care and maintenance. The audiologist will also instruct you in detail once you obtain your hearing aid. Hearing aids are generally not waterproof and their electronic components can get corroded from excessive sweating, rain or even moisture in the air. Therefore, it is important to keep your hearing aid in a dry place, for instance, in a dry jar with a silica gel, or in an electronic dry box every night. You should also refrain from dropping the hearing aid as its internal components might get damaged. Another common problem is having earwax trapped in the sound bore. Therefore, make sure you clean your hearing aid regularly, as instructed in the manual, to prevent wax blockage.

2. How long does it take to get used to wearing a hearing aid?
The period it takes to get used to a hearing aid varies from person to person. In most cases, the hearing loss has been taking place gradually over many years. Therefore, it takes time to get used to hearing the various sounds in the environment again. Hearing aids not only make speech louder but also background noises. Hence, following a conversation in a noisy environment can be difficult. Even though new hearing aid technology in digital hearing aids can suppress noise and make speech in noisy situations clearer, it is not equivalent to normal hearing. Nonetheless, with patience, perseverance and practice, listening can become an enjoyable experience again.

3. Will there be any side effects from hearing aid use?
Although a battery is being used in the hearing aid, the voltage (1.4V) is too low to emit any harmful radiation. Sudden loud sounds such as thunder would not cause any trauma as most hearing aids have a filter to block out sounds which are too loud.

4. Will my hearing change after wearing the hearing aid?
There is no evidence to show that one’s hearing will change with hearing aid usage. A properly fitted hearing aid will help you to hear better and not damage your hearing. Changes in hearing tend to be caused by other factors such as age, diseases, or medication, regardless of hearing aid usage.

5. Will small hearing aids fall off or drop into the ear?
The shape of one’s ear will be cast into a mould and custom-made into an ear shell so that the hearing aid will fit snugly in the ear. If the ear shell is properly made and placed in the ear, it should not fall off or drop into the ear when one engages in non-vigorous activities such as walking and eating. In addition, the ear shell also prevents the sound from ‘leaking’ out of the ear and hence improves the quality of sound. Therefore, one does not usually get a hearing aid instantly but has to wait for the ear shell to be made.

6. Is it better to wear one or two hearing aids?
Wearing hearing aids in both ears may offer some advantages, such as being able to hear better in noise, an improved ability for sound localization and overall clarity.

7. How much do hearing aids cost?
The cost of one hearing aid ranges from about $1650 to $7000, depending on the technology level of the device. 

8. Is there any guarantee that I will benefit from the hearing aid?
There are some people who will not benefit from hearing aids. The hearing aid amplifies sounds, making it easier for the patient to hear more clearly. However, it does not guarantee better speech understanding. Every individual is different and their outcome varies. Therefore, during the consultation session with the audiologist, the patient will have a chance to try on the hearing aid before making a decision to purchase.

9. What if I can’t afford a hearing aid but I need one?
Those experiencing financial difficulties will be referred to the Medical Social Services department for assistance.

10. What can hearing aids do? What can't hearing aids do?
What hearing aids CAN do:
  • Hearing aids make speech and environmental sounds louder.
  • Hearing aids allow you to hear more sounds that you previously don’t hear. They help you become more aware of your surroundings.
  • Hearing aids make speech, your own voice and environmental sounds sound differently from the way they sound before.
  • Hearing aids help you to hear better in one-to-one or face-to-face conversation.
  • Hearing aids work best in picking up speech and sounds within 1 meter. 
What hearing aids CANNOT do:
  • Hearing aids do not restore normal hearing.
  • Hearing aids do not change your hearing or stop the progression of hearing loss.
  • Hearing aids cannot eliminate background noise completely.
  • Hearing aids do not remove the need for visual cues and contextual information.