An AdventHealth doctor is one of a few worldwide implanting the creme de la creme of hearing aids.
There are plenty of things to look forward to as we age, but losing our hearing is not one of them. Hearing aids tend to be clunky-looking, create feedback and, of course, they just make us feel old.
So it comes as no surprise that 80 percent of adults age 55 to 74 who could seriously benefit from hearing aids don't use them.
Today, at the Academy of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery 2016 Annual Conference in San Diego, California, researchers presented findings from their analysis of why seniors and those with hearing loss choose not to use hearing aids.
And, that's where Michael Seidman, MD, otolaryngologist and head and neck surgeon at AdventHealth, comes in. He offers two solutions that are practically invisible to the naked eye. Both are absolute game changers when it comes to improving hearing.
Better yet, he's the only surgeon in Florida implanting these innovative hearing devices and only one of 10 in the world.
The first option is a semi-implantable hearing aid device made of titanium that's placed in the middle ear. The simple, minimally invasive procedure takes less than 40 minutes.
The advanced sound processor is discreetly worn in the ear canal, which allows for improved audibility and speech understanding, says Dr. Seidman, lead author of I Hate My Hearing Aids: Other Options For Hearing Loss.
It has an advanced sound processor that uses electromagnetic energy. That energy actually causes the implant to vibrate, which directly stimulates the inner ear or cochlea. The result: You get a much cleaner, crisper sound quality and more amplification without the annoying feedback of a traditional hearing aid.
The second device is a fully implantable hearing aid that's placed in the middle ear and mastoid.
The totally implantable device is a state-of-the-art hearing aid and takes about four hours to implant, Dr. Seidman says. The prosthetic hearing device uses your own eardrum as a microphone.
In other words, this is the creme de la creme of hearing aids. Likewise, the results are astounding with many patients regaining almost normal hearing. That means no more missing out on dinner chatter and phone conversations. And no more of the stress involved with straining to hear people.
Believe it or not: $5 billion a year is spent on hearing loss. One in four people over the age of 65 has some form of hearing loss, with the most common type being sensorineural, or hearing loss caused by nerve damage. This hearing loss occurs when something like noise, illness, injury or infection damages either the auditory nerve that controls hearing or the hair cells in the ear that help transmit sound. Unfortunately, sensorineural hearing loss usually cannot be reversed, but a hearing aid can help.
In many cases, however, traditional hearing aids, which only amplify sounds through the ear canal to the outside of the eardrum, are just not cutting it. The new generation of hearing aids, however, are improving hearing by leaps and bounds.
Implantable hearing aids are, as might be expected, more costly than traditional hearing aids, but I've found that the level of patient satisfaction is high, says Dr. Seidman. Its truly life changing for some people.
Keep in mind: Hearing aids, whether traditional or implantable, are usually not covered by insurance plans. However, in recent years some insurance plans have developed contracts with providers for certain hearing aid models, often with out-of-pocket costs if you choose to upgrade. Patients with Flexible Spending Accounts may be able to use those funds for hearing aids.