HearingModern assistive aids the likes of vision and hearing aids are all about retaining a high quality of life. As we grow older (and wiser of course!) certain sensory functions diminish in quality resulting in sensory impairment. In the UK, Hearing loss touches the lives of over 9 million individuals, with the over 65s representing the biggest group of hard of hearing. Hearing loss, which is kept unmanaged and untreated will lead to reduced quality of life, social exclusion and other well-documented disorders that could be easily avoided.

Our hearing is based on an ability to capture waves and vibration in the air of various degrees and frequencies or what we simply call ‘sound’. The inner ear contains many tiny miniature hair cells that are tasked with capturing these vibrations. As we mature or due to sound trauma, the quality and quantity of the hair cells diminish resulting in a growing difficulty to hear certain frequencies or as we perceive it, a growing difficulty to hear certain sounds. Once a hearing test takes place and the cause of the hearing loss becomes evident, the solution is often as simply as wearing as digital hearing aid.

Digital hearing aids use digital amplification to overcome the workings of the inner ear hair cells as once damaged or diminish in quality these cannot regrow. The device, which can only be compared to a mini computer, resides within the ear or just out side the ear. Once the decision has been made that the device can help relieve the sensory impairment, the question is often ‘how to get one?’

The UK has one of the most progressive health care systems in the world and even in this difficult financial climate hearing aids can be obtained at no cost. NHS hearing aids are free to UK residents that have been diagnosed with certain types of hearing loss (in which a hearing aid can help). You may be subject to a waiting period and the models of hearing aids will be limited. An alternative is private hearing aids in which you pay your hard earned cash for a hearing aid then and there. Going privately means that you are very likely to find a hearing aid that is both comfortable and visually pleasing should you wish to retain a discreet appearance when wearing a hearing aid. These are available from high street stores as well as a growing number of online retailers offering affordable hearing aids. You would do well to research both possibilities so you have all the facts in front of you.

Written for very wellbeing blog by the team at UK based Hearing Direct. For further information on hearing loss and hearing aids, read their weekly blog.

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I've worked as an Occupational Therapist for many years dealing with physical and mental health patients, both in hospitals and the community. Living a healthy, well balanced life with a good diet, regular exercise and a taking a positive outlook are crucial to becoming a very well being indeed - sometimes easier said than done!

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