Hearing problems: when do you need a hearing aid?

Does anyone who overhears the doorbell need hearing aids? Or should one wait for hearing problems first, whether it is better by itself again? Does it hurt the ears when hearing aids are prescribed too soon? Many people ask themselves such and similar questions - because around 14 million Germans have a hearing loss. Anyone who has the feeling that they are hearing badly should in any case first visit an ear, nose and throat specialist in order to clarify where the hearing problem is coming from. Petra S. (48) is constantly listening to the phone. "You've always heard better, " notes her husband, "I think you need hearing aids." The ear, nose and throat specialist examines the ears and immediately realizes that a lot of earwax (cerumen) has accumulated on both sides. In an attempt to clean her ears, Petra S. had obviously pressed the cerumen deep into the ear canal. Such Ohrschmalzpfropfen clog the ear canals so much that you actually hear dull. Here the doctor with ear irons can quickly remedy. - The situation is different with Wolfgang F. (54).

For hearing problems - see a doctor

For months he has problems to understand everything that his friends in the Stammkneipe say to him. "With the babble of voices ... it's clear that you do not hear every word, " his neighbor calms him. But Wolfgang F. noticed that the others understand much more than he does. Sometimes they answer questions when he's still wondering what it's all about.

The diagnosis of the ENT doctor is clear: an inner ear damage that can not be resolved. "But with hearing aids, they are also called today hearing systems, " says the doctor, "there is a lot to do there.I write you a prescription, with which you go to the hearing aid acoustician."

What are the causes?

Hearing problems can have a variety of causes. If the sound does not reach the inner ear properly, for example because the ear canal is blocked or the middle ear is affected, then this is usually a temporary condition that can be improved with medical help.

If you can barely hear something on one or both ears, it could be a sudden loss of hearing. Therefore, you should quickly visit the ENT doctor. In adults, the cause of hearing problems is usually in the inner ear, which is damaged for example by noise or diseases such as meningitis, mumps, measles, rubella, diphtheria or scarlet fever. Such damages are incurable.

But in almost all cases you can significantly improve the possibilities of hearing and hearing when using hearing aids. And you should not wait, because an improvement is excluded in such a sensorineural hearing loss. However, a worsening of the situation is likely if one dispenses with the necessary hearing aids. Because sounds that - because of lack of hearing power - no longer penetrate as far as our brain, are forgotten there over the course of the months and years. When the full world of sound is finally back thanks to hearing aids, the brain first has to learn how to process and interpret it.

Those who refrain from hearing better also put up with a number of other problems: misunderstandings pile up, mistrust arises, social contacts worsen and depressive moods are not uncommon. Whoever hears badly and could use hearing aids should do so as soon as possible. This benefits the hearing, the brain and the quality of life.

The sooner the better...

"When it comes to the supply of hearing aids, the sooner the better, " says Professor Dr. med. med. Dr. hc Roland Laszig, Director of the University ENT Clinic Freiburg. He even recommends this to patients whose hearing has not yet quite exceeded the threshold at which hearing aids should be prescribed: "For patients suffering from their hearing loss, I suggest hearing aid care even if the indication limit has not yet been reached It's not the measurement that counts here, but the subjective feeling of the person concerned.At the hearing care professional, patients can then try out what hearing with hearing aids is like, and if the devices help, then they can be taken as well. "

Mostly both ears are affected by an inner ear damage. Of course, then both ears should be equipped with hearing aids. On the one hand, this is essential for listening to direction and, on the other hand, the hearing performance of the unaided ear threatens to decrease further. Karin Schorn, ENT Clinic Großhadern / Munich. "In the case of low-grade deafness, a one-eared care is even worse than none, because in problematic hearing situations no spatial hearing is possible." Therefore ENT doctors always prescribe two hearing aids for bilateral hearing loss.

Free advice telephone

If you have further questions, you can contact the advisory telephone of the Fördergemeinschaft Gutes Hören. Every Wednesday from 2 to 4 pm experts are available for individual advice on the telephone: audiologists (0800 - 0112 112) and ENT doctors (0800 - 0112 113). The calls are toll free.

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