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Can wearing a hearing aid in a loud setting trigger hearing damage?


hearing health careA standard patient question is whether their hearing aid will amplify sounds that are already excessively loud for them, making those sounds louder still. Thankfully there’s a reassuring answer to this specific question.

In a nutshell, modern hearing aids that are properly fitted and adjusted are designed to avoid amplifying sounds which are already too loud. We can’t overemphasize how important the phrase in bold is; this is the reason you need professional help with choosing and fitting your hearing aids.

An explanation of how hearing aids work is required to give a complete answer. Digital hearing aids work by transforming sounds into data. The data which encodes the sounds is then processed in the hearing aid’s microchip before the amplified sound is delivered to your ears. Your individual needs can be met with these digital hearing aids by programming and adjusting the maximum volume and the quality of sounds. For example, if you suffer from primarily high-frequency hearing loss, the hearing aid can be programmed to amplify high-frequency sounds more than low-frequency sounds. This preference can be reversed, of course, if you suffer from primarily low-frequency hearing loss.

Digital hearing aids also have the ability to filter sounds so that you can hear and understand them better. Background noise can be detected and reduced in volume, while voices in the foreground can be detected and amplified so you can hear them more easily. If volume levels change – for example if music starts at a low volume but then becomes too loud – the hearing aid can dynamically compensate for it. Directional microphones also allow the hearing aid wearer to hear faint sounds coming from the direction they are facing, while suppressing noisier sounds coming from behind or to either side.

Be aware that hearing aids do not protect the ear the way that ear plugs are designed to do. Noise-induced hearing loss can still be caused by loud sounds such as chainsaws or overly amplified rock concerts. However, the most common sounds you encounter should be handled by your properly fitted and programmed hearing aids.



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