A hearing aid is a compact electronic device that can improve hearing by making sounds clearer and louder. Although a hearing aid can’t restore hearing loss completely, it can often help to improve it. Wearing a hearing aid can make everyday life easier and make a significant difference when conversing, talking on the phone, or watching television. Patients attending The Harley Street ENT Clinic can be referred to Harley Hearing Centre, our in-house service for obtaining independent advice about hearing aids and other ear protection and treatment devices.

The first step to getting hearing aids is an assessment by a hearing aid specialist to determine whether it will be possible to restore hearing. The specialist can then recommend a suitable device. Hearing aids come in several different forms, including devices that sit behind the ear, in the ear, and completely within the ear canal, so-called “invisible” hearing aids. In some cases a custom made hearing aid may need to be created using a silicone cast of the ear. Once the device is ready, the hearing aid will be programmed using computer-based software to suit the patient’s level of hearing loss at various frequencies. The effects should be apparent immediately, but it can take several weeks to get used to using a hearing aid and follow up appointments with the hearing aid specialist will be needed.

Because it can take time for the patient to find out whether a specific hearing aid is suitable for their needs, any purchased hearing aid can be returned within a calendar month for a full refund minus a 5% administration fee.

Tinnitus Maskers

Improving awareness of external sounds can help to make the symptom of tinnitus less noticeable. Alternatively, a masking device can be fitted. Once the specific frequency of tinnitus has been measured, by carrying out a Tinnitus Match & Masking test, a hearing device can be programmed to generate low level noise at a specific frequency that can “cancel out” a patient’s troublesome tinnitus and make it more tolerable.

Ear Protection Devices

Some patients may be prone to developing recurrent ear infections when swimming regularly, particularly in hot and humid climates. An effective remedy is to wear custom-made Swim Plugs. A silicone cast impression is taken of the patient’s ear canals in order to make plastic waterproof ear protection plugs, to keep the ears dry when swimming.

Frequent exposure to loud noise can have a long term detrimental effect on hearing and increase the likelihood of developing tinnitus. Professional musicians and those exposed to excessive gunfire are particularly at risk. Custom made Sound protection plugs worn regularly can attenuate and significantly reduce the sound intensity by up to 20% and avoid these long term ear issues.

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