The Current State of Treating Hearing Loss

The science of gauging and treating hearing loss and auditory disorders is far advanced. Today’s technology — and decades of medical progress — now provide a wealth of options for anyone with hearing issues.

Ways to provide rehabilitation include hearing aids, cochlear implants, and therapeutic approaches. Methods employed will depend to some extent on the nature of the hearing loss being managed.

Profound hearing loss may require cochlear implants, which are complex devices that incorporate surgically inserted electrodes that send signals directly to the brain, bypassing the hearing apparatus of the inner ear. A significant amount of subsequent therapeutic training is necessary to make them a successful intervention.

Speech pathologists will be the frontline professional who works with those adapting to cochlear implants, but the kind of audiological rehabilitation they provide can also help a wide array of people with less profound issues learn to manage their hearing loss. This is especially true if it was not immediately treated and “bad habits” developed.

The therapeutic approaches these hearing professionals will manage include developing better hearing techniques, speechreading (based in part on lipreading), and strategies to create a better environment for hearing (including ways that speakers can communicate more clearly).

Ultimately, hearing aids are the most common form of treatment for auditory disorders, especially presbycusis (hearing loss due to age). Contemporary hearing aids are powerful tools. They incorporate significant computing powers that not only provide amplification of sound in the parts of the spectrum where it is needed, but also deliver a wide array of interconnectivity with other wireless devices. This provides access to streaming music, captioned devices, and supplemental assistive listening tools such as infrared and FM systems.