In 2019, 7.1% of adults aged 45 and over used a hearing aid. The small but technologically advanced devices have a microphone that collects sound, an amplifier or processor that raises its volume and a speaker that transmits it directly to the ear canal.
Hearing aids have many benefits including but not limited to:
- Improved understanding of high- and low-pitched sounds
- Easier communication over the phone
- Easier communication in large groups
- Improved understanding in noisy environments
- Tinnitus management
- Improved safety
Improved safety is an infrequently discussed but beneficial perk of wearing hearing aids.
What Auditory Cues Help With Safety?
A couple of types of noises hearing aids can help you understand include:
- Verbal. From cyclists calling out “on your right” to family members alerting you to broken glass on the floor in your home, verbal cues are essential in keeping you safe. Hearing aids can amplify verbal information and deliver it directly to your ears to ensure you aren’t missing crucial cues.
- Background. Background noise includes anything from burglar alarms to car horns. Hearing aids can amplify important background information while suppressing irrelevant noise to improve safety.
Hearing Aids and Balance
In addition to providing important verbal and background information, hearing aids may offer you a little stability. People with hearing loss of at least 25 decibels were found to be up to three times more likely to have a history of falls compared to those with normal hearing.
Three reasons why an association between hearing loss and poor balance may occur include:
- Simultaneous dysfunction of hearing and balance organs and nerves
- Increased cognitive load from hearing loss leaves fewer resources for balance
- Limited access to auditory cues necessary for background awareness
Hearing aids decrease the cognitive load by reducing the effort required to hear and providing the necessary auditory cues for improved background awareness.
Choosing to begin treatment for your hearing loss can improve communication background knowledge and offer stability to help keep you safe. For more information about the benefits of treating your hearing loss with hearing aids, contact River ENT today to make an appointment with one of our specialists.