Keyword: The Crackling sound inside the head, hearing aids, Costco hearing aid One of the major problems associated with old age is hearing loss. The hearing aid is often mistakenly addressed as an adult problem. However, it has also been recorded in youths and even children. The number of people suffering from hearing loss in America is estimated at 48 million. The age bracket usually falls between 65 -75 years. One of the early signs of a hearing loss is the crackling sound inside the head. Often times preceding a hearing loss, people complain of ringing or noise in the ear. This is referred to medically as tinnitus. According to researches today, unattended hearing loss can lead to other problems. Some of these problems that have been associated with hearing loss include:
  • Lack of concentration
  • Increased depression
  • Gradually loss of memory
  • And dementia in more severe cases
Reasons for Hearing Loss There are quite a number of reasons that can lead to hearing loss. One of the most common hearing loss known as sensorineural hearing loss is caused by damage to the inner ear hair cells. These cells are responsible for sound conversion into electric signals and sent to the brain. Age factor and increased exposure to loud noises are among the major cause of damage. However, there are certain kinds of medication, ailments and also genetic factors associated with hearing loss. The effect of sensorineural hearing loss is not reversible; however, it can be managed. One of the major ways of managing hearing loss is by the use of a hearing aid. Cochlear implants can also be used to manage hearing loss in one ear. This device helps to stimulate the auditory nerve electrically and improves hearing. Types of hearing loss There are four major classifications of hearing loss. Some of these hearing problems may be less common. All four kinds of hearing loss can also be managed.
  • Sensorineural Hearing Loss
This is the most common kind of hearing loss today. This hearing loss occurs as a result of damage to the inner ear hair cells. This kind of hearing loss can be caused by genetic factors. Exposure to loud noises can also be a causative factor of this kind of hearing loss. There are other times in which sensorineural hearing loss has been linked with head trauma and other environmental factors. This type of hearing loss, however, is also linked with the aging process. This is why it is most common in advanced adults. The sensorineural hearing loss can be divided into two types:
  • Noise-induced sensorineural hearing loss: this is when hearing loss occurs as a result of continuous exposure to loud noise.
  • Auditory Neuropathy: This occurs as a result of damage to the nerves that send sound data to the brain. This can occur as a result of some forms of medication.
The effect of sensorineural hearing loss can be managed by the use of hearing aids. Devices such as the Hybrid Cochlear Implant or the ordinary Cochlear Implant have also proven useful in the management of sensorineural hearing loss.
  • The Conductive Hearing Loss
Conductive hearing loss is less common. It occurs as a result of a problem with the outer or middle ear. This can be as a result of an obstruction preventing sound from getting to the inner ear. Some of the major causes of this kind of hearing loss include:
  • Excess production of wax in the ear
  • Some kinds of ear infections
  • Damaged eardrum
  • Abnormal bone growth in the ear (Otosclerosis).
  • Collection of fluid in the ear
This hearing loss is most common among children and ethnic inhabitants. One of the major ways of treating conductive hearing loss is through surgery. The other ways to take care of conductive hearing loss include:
  • Bone conduction hearing aids
  • Middle ear implants
  • Bone anchor hearing aids
  • The Neural/Auditory Hearing Loss
Neural/Auditory hearing loss occurs as a result of damage to the hearing nerves or the inner ear. In this case, sound enters the ear normally but is not organized in the way the brain can process the information. This kind of hearing loss is also known as Auditory Processing Disorder.
  • The Mixed Hearing Loss
When you have sensorineural hearing loss and conductive hearing loss present then it is called the mixed hearing loss. The sensorineural hearing loss symptoms are permanent while the conductive hearing loss signs may be temporal or permanent. A good example of a mixed hearing loss is a person with presbycusis and an ear infection. Hearing Loss Diagnosis A diagnosis is required to determine the kind of hearing loss. This step is very important as it’s a prerequisite to determining the appropriate treatment. There are different ways to test for hearing loss. Unfortunately, for some people like famed Huey Lewis, a diagnosis of hearing loss can be taken very hard. Physical Examination The physical examination involves the examination of the palpation of the auricle and periauricle tissues. In cases where the doctor suspects the existence of cerumen, otoscopic examination is employed. This will also help to detect the presence of foreign bodies in the ear. Otoscopic examination can also be used to determine other abnormalities with the canal skin. The surface anatomy of the tympanic membrane is also examined. Physical examination also involves the examination of the color and mobility of the tympanic membrane. When examining the tympanic membrane, a pneumatic bulb is required to improve accuracy. Weber’s Test Another method of examining the ear is by the use of a weber’s test. This test is performed with a 512-Hz tuning fork. The doctor places the fork in the center of the scalp and strikes it. For conductive hearing loss, the sound will be heard best on the affected ear. For cases of sensorineural hearing loss, the sound will be heard best on the normal ear. For patients with normal hearing, the sound will be heard on both ears. The Rinse Test The Rinse test is another kind of physical test used to determine hearing loss. This test works by determining bone conduction and air conduction. In this case, the tuning fork is struck around the mastoid bone. This helps the doctor to determine bone conduction. Once the patient stops hearing the sound, the tuning fork is placed around the ear canal to test for air conduction. If the air conduction is better than the bone conduction, this can be a sign of sensorineural hearing loss. In this case, sound can still be heard when the tuning fork is placed around the ear canal. In another case, for conductive hearing loss, bone conduction is better than air conduction. In this case, no sound is heard when the fork is placed on the ear canal. The General Screening Test The doctor may conduct a whisper test by asking the patient to cover one ear. The doctor whispers into the open ear. The doctor performs the same test on the other ear. He determines how well his words are interpreted on both times. This will help determine if the hearing loss is on both ears or on one ear. App-Based Hearing Test With the growth in technology, there are apps today designed for hearing aid tests. Some of these apps are available for download on your mobile phones for easy use. The Audiometer Test This is a more severe test used to determine hearing loss. The Audiometer test is usually carried out by an audiologist. The patient puts a pair of earphones and tries to pronounce sounds directed to individual ear. Each tone is repeated at different pitches to figure out the sound the patient can hear. Treatment of Hearing Loss There are some cases where hearing loss gets better after sometime without treatment. This kind of hearing loss is called temporal hearing loss. Hearing loss caused by excess wax in the ear is a good example of this. The earlier you treat a hearing loss the better. It doesn’t matter whether if it is a temporal hearing loss. An unattended hearing loss problem can lead to a more severe problem. There are different approaches to dealing with hearing loss. This depends on the cause and how severe a hearing loss is. Some of the hearing loss treatment includes: Ear Wax Evacuation Ear wax blockage is one of the causes of temporal hearing loss. This kind of hearing loss is reversible. Ear wax can be evacuated using a suction machine. Other small tools with a loop at the end can also be used to evacuate ear wax. The Use of Surgery There are some forms of hearing loss that requires a surgical procedure to correct. In cases of Otosclerosis, surgery is required to correct it. This is also true for hearing loss caused by eardrum problems. There are times where the ear produces excess wax. The doctor might be required to insert a small tube in the ear. This will help to drain the excess fluid from the ear canal. This process too might require a surgical procedure. Invest in Hearing Aids One of the most common treatments for hearing loss is hearing aid. When a hearing loss is due to damage to the inner ear, the audiologist will likely recommend a hearing aid. It is the duty of the doctor to recommend a hearing aid and refer you to an audiologist. An audiologist takes you through the process of fitting the hearing aids. However, with the passing of the OTC bill, hearing aids can be purchased over the counter. The hearing aid can get rid of the crackling sound in the head and improve your hearing capability. There are different types of hearing aids. What is best for you is heavily determined by your kind of hearing loss and your lifestyle. Types of hearing aids Behind the Ear Hearing Aid This kind of hearing aid is worn behind the ear. All the electronics components are encased in a plastic shell. The sound is sent to the receiver through a plastic tube. Inserted into the ear canal. Completely in the ear canal (CIC) As the name implies, this kind of hearing aid is designed to fit completely in the ear canal. It is completely invisible to people to the eyes. This kind of hearing aid is equipped with a drawstring. This will helps to ease the process of removal. In the canal hearing aid (ITC) This device is designed to fit in the ear canal. It is barely visible to the naked eyes however; it is larger than the CIC device. Mini behind the Ear Hearing Aid (MBTE) As technology continues to improve, hearing aid components have relatively reduced in size. This gave birth to the MBTE hearing aid. While maintaining all the features of the original BTE it is smaller. It is designed to stay well hidden behind the ear. Cochlear Implant For those with more severe cases of hearing loss, a cochlear implant is required. This device is very useful when all the benefits can no longer be obtained from hearing aids. Hearing aids are designed to amplify sounds and direct them into the inner ear. Cochlear Implants are designed to bypass nonfunctional parts of the inner ear to stimulate the hearing nerves directly. The cochlear implant is handled by an ENT doctor or an audiologist. Features To Look Out For When Buying a Hearing Aid There are important things to consider when buying a hearing aid. From the battery life to the general performance, let us see some of the important features to look out for when buying a hearing aid. The Telecoil Option This is a small copper coil inserted inside the hearing aid. When activated, this device is designed to pick up sounds from compatible devices. These devices include some telephones, public address systems such as the one in railway stations and large conference rooms. Telecoil compatible systems can also be found in cinemas, museums, even stadiums. Telecoil devices are designed to aid people using hearing aids. This system is useful to those suffering from moderate to severe hearing loss. This device helps to eliminate all the background noises thereby making understanding easier. The Directional Microphone A lot of modern hearing aids are equipped with a directional microphone. This device helps to make conversation easier in noisy places. This directional microphone is designed to pick up sounds that are directly in front of the hearing aid wearer. This, therefore, eliminates all the distractions from other surrounding noises. A lot of hearing aids with this feature are designed to automatically switch between directional and omnidirectional. Many advanced ones can be set to pick up noises from either front or back. Feedback Reduction One of the major causes of the crackling sound in the head for the first time hearing aid users is feedback. This feature is very important in hearing aids for clearer sound transmission. This feature is present in most modern hearing aids. However, the effectiveness may differ from one device to another. It is designed for much more comfort and improved sound quality. It also helps to reduce feedback sounds when answering phone calls. Getting the right size of hearing aid is one way to reduce feedback. The DNR feature This is also another feature designed to improve hearing in noisy areas. This feature also helps to block out background noises. There are a lot of other features in newer hearing aids that are less important. Some of these features include:
  • The low battery indicator sound
  • The wax guard to prevent the                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       e buildup of wax on the device
  • The automatic and manual volume control
  • Wireless connectivity ability for hearing aids and other devices
  • Ability to save hearing data log and the ability to save preferences.
  • The ability to stream music files from your mp3 and phone devices.
  • Ability to connect to calls on the computer and connect to sound directly on to the TV.
  • The remote microphone features
  • Advanced remote for smartphones
How to select a hearing aid device The first step to finding the best hearing aid is by visiting an ENT doctor. This doctor examines you carefully and refers you to an audiologist. However, with the passing of the OTC bill into law, any adult can now purchase the hearing aid over the counter without going through the process of seeing a doctor. The audiologist will determine the cause of the hearing loss. If it is as a result of a medical condition, he prescribes treatment first. He might also have to refer you back to a physician if the need be. The audiologist will carry out a test to determine your hearing aid needs. The audiologist, therefore, tries to figure out the best settings for you. The audiologist might ask personal questions about your lifestyle and personality. This will help determine what kind of hearing aid will suit you best. It is most likely to get an audiologist working as private practitioner. The Costco hearing aid is a good example of private practitioners. It is also likely to come across a hearing aid professional in big-time stores. The requirement for becoming an audiologist varies from place to place. However, generally, an audiologist is required to poses a doctorate degree (Au.D) with a cumulative experience in testing and hearing loss rehabilitation of over 1000 hours. Most importantly, he must have passed the hearing aid license examination. Selecting a Hearing Aid Professional—What to Consider
  • The hearing aid professional must be a registered one with a convenient working office. He should also have flexible working hours.
  • He should also offer after-sales services and also repair services.
  • Learn to always take notes. Bring friends, family members, and other significant others to help you take note of all the points covered during your visit.
  • The hearing aid professional should be able to liaise with you on the effects of hearing loss on your relationship and lifestyle. The hearing aid professional should also be one that can proffer solutions for your situation.
  • The hearing aid professional should have an understanding of your ability to handle hearing aids. This is very important and determines how well you can cope with the device. The hearing aid specialist should also be able to discuss realistic expectations with you. A lot of people falsely believe that hearing aid will automatically reverse their hearing.
  • The hearing aid professional should have a soundproof chamber for testing hearing loss. He should be able to provide you with a hearing test result.
  • The hearing professional should be able to test and ensure the hearing device is working perfectly. This includes testing in a noisy environment. He should also be willing to review the brochure that accompanies the device. This will help ensure that everything is in order.
  • He should be willing to provide information on improvements in devices. He should also be willing to provide information on how whether your device can be updated or not.
  • In case you figure out that your hearing aid did not fit fine the hearing aid professional should be willing to change it and provide a replacement.
  • He should be able to provide you with tips on how to take care of your device.
How to cut down on the price of your hearing aid Hearing aids can be very expensive. There are ways to also cut down the price of your hearing aids. Ensure to buy only the features you want. This will save you a lot of purchase costs. It is also important to have a well-written agreement to save you from losing your money in case of circumstances. Some features such as Wi-Fi connectivity may be important but not necessary. If you don’t really have need for it then go for one without it. Ask for a break in prices or purchase from a company that offers a good bargain. The Costco hearing aids, for example, have competitive price offers for their hearing aids. Ensure to read the insurance coverage for the hearing aid before paying for it. While most insurance does not cover hearing aids, there are quite a number of privileges given to some special kind of people and residents of some states.