For the estimated 28 million Americans with hearing loss, life is a series of missed opportunities. Frustrated friends and family members often tire of shouting and will just give up on communicating altogether. This can make the world a very lonely place for the hearing-impaired. Hearing aids — small electronic devices that amplify sound — can help restore many of the sounds that hearing-impaired people are missing. However, research finds that very few people who need hearing aids actually use them. Only one out of every five Americans who could benefit from a hearing aid wears one, according to a 2006 study from Duke University [source: Medical News Today].
Some people pass on hearing aids because of the cost, while others do so because they are embarrassed to be seen wearing them. What they don’t realize is that many hearing aids are relatively inexpensive, and many of today’s hearing aid styles are so small that they are nearly impossible to spot.
In this article, we’ll find out exactly how hearing aids work, and learn about new technologies that are providing clearer, more natural sound for people with hearing loss. But first, let’s look at what causes hearing loss.
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