Magazine article USA TODAY

New Devices Aid Hearing Impaired

Magazine article USA TODAY

New Devices Aid Hearing Impaired

Article excerpt

While 26,000,000 Americans have some degree of hearing loss, just 5,800,000 use hearing aids. Those who don't may fail to communicate effectively or misunderstand information because of impairments that range from mild to severe. Moreover, research has shown a significant resistance to hearing devices.

Two new devices, manufactured by Resound Corp., represent "a significant leap forward in the way sounds can be heard," indicates Timothy Molony, an otolaryngologist at Ochsner Clinic, New Orleans. "These hearing aids particularly seem to help people who have previously tried hearing aids and were not satisfied with them. In essence, these aids supply the missing ingredient--they duplicate the lost function in the inner ear."

Most hearing aids provide a fixed amount of amplification regardless of the sound intensity, which creates discomfort and fails to improve word recognition. People with sensorineural hearing loss, or nerve deafness, often find it difficult or impossible to hear what are considered "soft" sounds, such as consonants like "p," "s," and "f," or consonant blends like "th" and "sh." At the same time, they may hear loud sounds almost as normally as people without hearing loss.

The ReSound devices analyze incoming sounds and adjust them consistent with the individual's specific range of residual hearing. …

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