The level of hearing loss that a person experiences can vary. People with normal hearing ability can usually hear sounds of 25 dB or less across the frequency spectrum from 125 Hz to 8,000. Those with mild hearing loss cannot hear sounds below 40 dB, and those with moderate hearing loss cannot hear noises below around 57 dB. 

Profound hearing loss is a classification of hearing loss where a person cannot hear sounds below 90. In other words, they cannot hear a person opposite shouting at them, or a television turned up high. 

People can experience profound hearing loss for a variety of reasons. Many people with the condition have hearing loss from birth, while others acquire it through injury or infection during their lives. 

Can people with profound hearing loss use hearing aids?

Many people assume that people who have profound hearing loss cannot benefit from hearing aids, but this is not true. It turns out that practically every major manufacturer of hearing aids offers a version of their products for people who cannot ordinarily hear sounds below 90 dB. Other than being slightly larger than regular hearing aids, these power or super-power versions offer many of the same functions as regular hearing aids. 

Hearing aids for the profoundly deaf are larger because of their need to be louder. The battery and the speaker unit both need to be bigger to provide the extra energy to make louder noises. Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aid are most commonly recommended for individuals with hearing loss, as they are larger and can be equipped with all the technology you need to hear again.  

Alternative treatments for people with profound hearing loss

Super powered hearing aids are not the only treatment option available to those with profound hearing loss. Other possibilities include cochlear implants and bone-anchored hearing systems. These solutions, however, require surgery, and so many people prefer to try hearing aids first to see if they make a difference. 

Why people with profound hearing loss should visit the audiologist

Hearing aids for people with profound hearing loss are different from regular hearing aids for people with mild to moderate hearing loss. The reason has to do with the need for higher levels of amplification. People with profound hearing loss require assistive hearing devices that increase the volume of incoming sounds much more than those with less severe forms of the condition. The increase in volume, however, increases the likelihood of feedback between the microphone and the speaker, leading to unpleasant droning noises. 

Fortunately, modern super power hearing aids now feature advance feedback control features that prevent a runaway loop between the speaker and the microphone, reducing the risk of unwanted and unpleasant noise. 

Feedback control technology, however, isn’t the only defense against feedback. The other is a properly-fitting earmold. 

The earmold is an essential functional component in hearing aids for people with profound hearing loss. A snug fit between the device and the walls of the ear canal prevents the transmission of sound waves between the speaker and the microphone, thus breaking the feedback loop. 

It is essential, therefore, that people with profound hearing loss visit an audiologist for their hearing aid fitting to get the best fit possible. A lack of correct fitting then leads to feedback issues necessitating the creation of a new mold. 

What to consider when choosing a hearing aid for profound hearing loss

Here are some of the things that you might want to consider if you are thinking about getting a hearing aid for profound hearing loss: 

  • Feedback control: Excessive feedback can be unpleasant and painful. Look for devices that offer robust feedback control systems from reputable manufacturers. 
  • Telecoil: A telecoil is a feature on the hearing aid that allows you to use your assistive hearing device as an in-ear speaker, bypassing the need to use the microphone. Many phones, televisions, and public spaces can pipe sounds digitally to your hearing aid, eliminating the risk of feedback. 
  • Multi-microphone support: Some hearing aids have multiple microphones that help you tell which direction a sound is coming from. These microphones pick up and translate sounds at different times, providing directionality, similar to the directional hearing that people have naturally. 

Do you believe that you might need power hearing aids to treat profound hearing loss? Would you like help in selecting the right device for you? 

If so, then you can learn more from the Salyer Hearing Center. Call us in Sylva at 828-586-7474, Franklin at 828-524-5599, Murphy at 828-835-1014.