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The Best Hearing Aids For Profound Hearing Loss

profound hearing loss

Have you been diagnosed with profound hearing loss? Modern hearing aids offer a great amount of relief for anyone suffering from varying degrees of hearing loss. Those with profound hearing loss will need to consider what type of hearing aid serves their needs best. Here’s what you need to know! 

Please note: Purchasing hearing aids for profound hearing loss should only ever be done in consultation with your Audiologist. They are best equipped to guide you through the process and find a device that you’ll benefit from the most.

Hearing loss is a relatively common condition that affects one in seven Australians.

A report titled “Hearing for Life – The value of hearing services for vulnerable Australians”, published by the Hearing Care Industry Association (HCIA) of Australia in 2020, showed that there are over 112,500 people with a severe to profound hearing loss.

The use of hearing aids has been shown to improve social, emotional and communication functions in people who have experienced hearing loss. Unfortunately, only 20 percent of people with hearing loss significant enough to warrant hearing aids actually get them.

What defines profound hearing loss?

According to the World Health Organisation, if the quietest sound you can hear with your better ear is at least greater than 81dB, then your loss is profound. 

Ordinary conversations tend to be around 60 decibels. 

Profound hearing loss typically occurs from a birth defect, illness or injury, not from old age. 

Many people with profound hearing loss read lips or use sign language as they can’t hear speech. Some people with profound hearing loss get a cochlear implant to hear again which requires a surgical intervention. 

However, there are many people with profound hearing loss who wear hearing aids as a non-invasive option and can still benefit from what the hearing aids have to offer.

Hearing aids are the most common treatment for hearing loss. If you have profound hearing loss you won’t hear most everyday sounds without amplification.

hearing aids types

Types of hearing aids for people with profound hearing loss

Many hearing aid manufacturers offer power, superpower, or ultra power aids for both adults and children. These aids are slightly bigger because they contain more circuitry. 

However, aids for profound hearing loss have been getting much smaller in recent years. 

They run on a smaller 13 battery and rest behind the ear (BTE & receiver in the ear RIC) attached to an ear mould. Some manufacturers are now offering power hearing aids in custom models such as an in-the-ear (ITE) style.

The top of the range hearing aids for profound hearing loss includes:

Considerations selecting a hearing aid for profound hearing loss 

When choosing a hearing aid for profound hearing loss, you and your audiologist will consider:

  • How much power (amplification) it offers.
  • How well it controls feedback.
  • Its circuitry, some hearing aids include two or three microphones that help you distinguish sound coming from different directions. 
  • Telecoil present: the telecoil links the hearing aid to hearing loop systems, which are found in many theaters, churches, airports and major venues. 
  • How moisture or dust resistant it is.
  • How cosmetically appealing is it in relation to size.
  • The length of the warranty, and the track record on repairs.
  • What wireless accessories it can connect to, and whether it can link with your mobile smartphone.

Your audiologist also may be able to move higher pitches, which tend to be harder to hear, into a more audible range for you, a process called “frequency lowering”.

Assistive technology for profound hearing loss 

Assistive technologies coupled with your hearing aids will greatly enhance your hearing and communication abilities. Keeping up-to-date with the myriad of latest releases, features, benefits and technology range can be hard. 

Consider the following tips:

  • Think about an additional microphone near the sound you wish to hear that will send signals to your hearing aid e.g. Remote microphone or Roger Select.
  • Hearing aids can be wirelessly connected to smartphones, but people with severe-to-profound hearing loss may still need a phone with automatic captioning
  • Video applications like FaceTime, Facebook Messenger and Skype allow you to see facial expressions and read lips. 
  • Phone Apps such as Ava provide live transcriptions for any conversation. Other phone Apps include Braci Sound Alert, which can alert you to an alarm going off through visual and vibrational means, and TapSOS, which helps you communicate with emergency services without speaking or listening.
  • Other assistive listening devices to augment your hearing aids, including FM systems and vibrating bed shaker alarms.

Your audiologist can assist you in all these matters and can vary your hearing aid’s programming and teach you how to use features to make your hearing aid and any assistive devices or phone Apps work best for you.   

Cost of power, superpower and ultra power hearing aids

Prices range from around $1500 – $10,000 a pair. 

The costs of these hearing aids are directly related to numerous factors, including: 

  • Product features and specifications
  • Rechargeable option
  • Bundled or unbundled 
  • Manufacture costs 
  • Warranty periods 

Remember to always check the product model’s compatibility.

For example, if you want the Phonak Remote App to be compatible, you must have a model that minimally supports Bluetooth 4.4 and iOS 10.2 or Android 6.0. 

insurance cover

Does insurance cover hearing aids?

Many private insurance companies cover hearing aids under their Extras cover.

Pensioners and Veterans are able to access free government subsidised hearing aids of either a basic level or a more advanced level of technology depending on their situation e.g. complex hearing needs. 

This service is delivered through the Hearing Services Program (HSP) being a Commonwealth government program, and can be accessed by application online or through a hearing aid provider.

Summary 

Research studies show that the vast array of hearing aids on the market are doing their job – even in the case of hearing loss. 

Power hearing aids are tailored to meet the needs of people with profound hearing loss. 

When these hearing aids are used in conjunction with wireless accessories and smartphone Apps, they can deliver even more benefits, especially in more difficult listening situations such as background noise.

Despite having top-level technology and being well fitted, some people with profound hearing eventually realise that their hearing aids do have their limitations. 

Some may have also added wireless accessories such as the Phonak Select system, enabling wireless streaming of phone calls, conversations from one or multiple speakers, and TV programs. 

Even then they may not be able to still hear well enough to ensure effective communication and good quality of life. These people may explore the option of a cochlear implant to see whether it is suitable for them.

If you feel that power hearing aids may help you, a loved one, or a friend who has profound hearing loss, hear better and communicate more effectively, then please contact your Audiologist as soon as possible

They will discuss and show you the various products and wireless accessories available for your significant degree of hearing loss. 

With the right hearing aid type for your profound hearing loss, it is possible to regain more effective communication and a better quality of life.

Enquire now