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Causes of Hearing Loss and How Hearing Aids Can Help

Sep 5, 2008
Most people suffer gradual hearing loss as they age. About 25 percent of American's between the ages of 65 and 75 have some degree of hearing loss. There are two main factors of hearing loss. The first is heredity. The second is chronic exposure to loud noises. Working with heavy machinery or power tools without proper ear protection can contribute to hearing loss by increasing the natural wear and tear on your ears over time.

Hearing loss happens when your cochlea, a snail shaped structure in the inner ear, is damaged. Nerve cells in the cochlea can degenerate and the hairs on them can break or bend. This causes electrical signals to transmit less efficiently, resulting in hearing loss. Other causes of hearing loss include ear infection, waxy buildup, ruptured eardrums and abnormal bone growths or tumors.
If your hearing loss is caused by damage to the cochlea a hearing aid may help restore some function. While hearing aids are not for everyone they do help many people hear better.

A hearing aid is a small electronic device you wear in or behind your ear. It is made up of three basic parts, a microphone, an amplifier and a battery. The hearing aid works by amplifying the sounds you hear. This makes processing those sounds easier for the chochlea. The greater the damage to your inner ear, the more sounds must be amplified for you to hear them.

Before you buy a hearing aid you should be evaluated by a licensed physician to be sure that your type of hearing loss can be helped by a hearing aid. Various kinds of hearing aids are available. An audiologist certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing can help you shop around and find the hearing aid that is best for you. You will even be able to test-wear the device before you commit to buying it.
As technology increases hearing aids are becoming more discrete. Most are flesh colored to blend into your ear. Many are very small, making them more comfortable to wear and less noticeable by others. Some fit entirely into your ear making them almost impossible for others to detect.

Hearing aids vary in cost depending on their size, features and sophistication. The cost of buying and replacing batteries also varies between hearing aid since different models use different types of batteries.

The cost of your visits to the doctor, hearing tests and all or part of your hearing aid may be covered by your private health care plan. Medicare does not cover hearing aids however Medicaid often helps pay for children's hearing aids.
About the Author
Gemma-Leigh Garner is a freelance copywriter and blogger that writes on many different health subjects such as the causes of hearing loss and how hearing aids can help you if you have a hearing condition.
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