Deteriorating hearing related to advanced age is caused by the progressive destruction of the inner ear and auditory nerve tissues. However, this condition is highly variable as some elderly people have good hearing due to differences of their susceptibility to deafness. Although aged people may hear sound, they may experience difficulty in understanding speech. For this reason, when speaking to them you must pronounce the words clearly to enable them to lip read. Shouting may aggravate the problem. Hearing function should be judged by a hearing assessment and a suitable hearing aid can be used. Most old patients prefer not to wear a hearing aid. Hearing aids are, therefore, recommended only if the patient is willing to wear them Sounds received by a hearing aid are different from the sound of normal speech. The instrument also picks up background noise. The patient should be motivated to wear it. It must be explained and demonstrated to a patient how a hearing aid functions. He must be allowed to wear it for a while at the time of consultation. In order to obtain satisfactory results, a hearing aid must be worn from the time a patient awakens till the time he goes to bed at night. As weak batteries can cause problems, it is recommended that additional batteries are kept handy. An ear mold must be given along with the hearing aid. These are tailor-made to suit the size of a patient’s ear canal. Modern digital hearing aids are now being produced with the use of new technology. Background noise is minimal and there is good clarity. Hearing aids are expensive, delicate instruments. The life span of each is about four years. A person must start saving for the next hearing aid from the first day he or she starts using one. There are several types of hearing aids according to configuration.
1)Body worn type: These aids are bulky with a box in the pocket and a cord connecting the mold in the ear. Although these are inexpensive and powerful, most individuals do not like them.
2)Behind the ear type: These are medium-sized and can, therefore, be hidden by hair. The switches are small and patients with arthritis or tremors find it difficult to handle them. They are costlier than body worn types.
3)In the ear type: These aids are small and inconspicuous. To fit the ear nicely,they are custom made according to an impression taken from the ear.Although they are expensive,they are popular due to small size.
4)In the canal type: These aids are very small and invisible outside.There is a thread attached to the aid to introduce it to ear canal.Although they are very expensive,they are very popular due to small size.