Hearing aids are electronic devices worn by people with mild to profound Hearing Loss (Conductive, Mixed and Sensorineural). They use a microphone to detect sounds that are then modulated (altered) and amplified to comfortable levels to help wearers hear better. It’s important to note hearing aids do not restore hearing back to normal. Instead, they provide the wearer with better access to sounds and an improved ability to understand speech.
Making the decision to have hearing aids are only a small part of the hearing loss management journey to have better hearing. Your purchase should be part of an overall therapy program with a qualified hearing health professional, such as an audiologist, who can work with you to help your brain to make sense of the new information being sent by the devices.
Types Of Hearing Aids
There are different styles (types) of hearing aid designs that can be used for the different kinds of hearing loss. In general, most devices are located behind the ear are used for individuals with moderate to severe hearing loss, while hearing aids that fit in the ear or in the ear canal are suited to individuals with moderate to mild hearing loss.
The diagram below shows the most common hearing aids styles.
Due to technological advances, hearing aids have become more sophisticated. Currently, the latest range of digital hearing aids has new features that allow them to work with other devices and technologies such as smartphones, hearing loops and other technologies like Bluetooth. Some smartphone apps and other wearable technologies known as Hearables are beginning to perform similar functions to hearing aids.
Getting The Most Out Of Your Hearing Aids
Watch the video below from the University of Queensland’s School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences to learn more about how hearing aids work and what you can do to make the devices help you with your hearing needs.
Funding & Subsidies For Hearing Aid Purchases In Australia
The Australian government’s Office of Hearing Services (OHS), provides world-class, subsidised audiology services to young people under the age of 26 and eligible patients (adults on an age, disability or veteran’s pension) through Australian Hearing voucher system.
Hearing Aids are also considered an eligible medical expense by the Australian Tax Office (ATO).
The Australian-based hearing loss consumers magazine Hearing HQ has also published a very useful and informative article on how to chose the right hearing aid. This article has been designed to help people with hearing loss work out what is the right kind of hearing aid for their hearing needs. They have also published another article that explains why they can be so expensive.
If you want independent information to compare hearing aid brands, models and prices etc, HEARnet Online recommends posting a question on the Hearing Aid Forum or visiting the Hear It website and read the user reviews, pricing information and comments for specific brands and models, so you can make an informed decision when buying a hearing aid.
A list of hearing aid manufacturers active in Australia is provided below.