Hearing Advisor


What hearing aid design considerations are necessary for older sufferers of hearing loss?


Like most computing technology over recent years hearing aids have followed the industry trends towards miniaturisation. As the underpinning auditory circuitry becomes smaller and more efficient it has been possible to create ever smaller hearing aid designs which helps to make them less conspicuous and therefore help to reduce any perceived stigma of people with hearing impairments.

While generally how noticeable a hearing aid may be is a more important factor for a younger user, for the elderly, which make up the largest  demographic of hearing aid wearers, significant decreases in size can result in hearing aids which are extremely difficult to operate. Declining quality of eyesight and manual dexterity are key reasons why elderly sufferers of hearing loss may find using hearing aids tricky and as a result they need to be designed with the utmost of ease of use in mind.

Ideally there will be minimal buttons that are needed to be used and when they are they need to be large enough that they can be easily felt and moved when necessary. Battery doors need to be accessible, and if the battery is small in size it ought to come with a magnetic tool so that it can be easily inserted and removed.

Comfort and appealing design can be equally important to an elderly hearing loss sufferer and therefore this also needs to be taken in to account. For some sufferers, particularly those who have real problems with manual dexterity and/or eyesight, fitting a hearing aid that is designed to fit inside the canal ought to be considered. This way there won't be a need for manually putting on taking out.

Above all, an elderly sufferer will need to be shown clearly and patiently how to use a hearing aid, so that they are comfortable when it comes to doing it on their own. When choosing a hearing aid they should be given ample time to wear it, to see that they are comfortable with it and that they happy with how it works. This will also give them an opportunity to practice using the controls, and will also flag any potential issue such as too-small buttons or an in-ability to attach the hearing aid by themselves.

To find out more and get advice on the best hearing aid available for your needs visit your local hearing healthcare professional.

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