Tuesday, May 17, 2022

The Incredible Technological Horizons In Audiology

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Travon Marner
Travon Marner
Travon Marner is a seasoned journalist with nearly 12 years under his belt. While studying journalism at Boston, Travon found a passion for finding local stories. As a contributor to Business News Ledger, Travon mostly covers human interest pieces.

All too often we overlook some of the truly miraculous advancements we’ve been able to make in the medical space – some of the most incredible developments have come from developments in audiology and ophthalmology. Even casting the shades back 100 years will surprise a great many of us, before the advent of microchips and more stable wiring, there wasn’t a whole lot that could be done for those who were dealing with ailments that impacted these all-important senses.

Those with hearing impairments are seeing an incredible amount of innovation and research go into the alleviation and treatment of a variety of causes and resulting debilitations. Thankfully, as technology has progressed so rapidly, we’ve seen the quickened development of devices like rechargeable hearing aids that offer convenience, comfort, and subtlety.

For this article, we will be focusing on the incredible road that audiological technology has undertaken and see what could be around the corner for those in the future.

The 3 Types Of Hearing Loss

Let’s first understand the notion of hearing loss and explore the common associations of hearing loss that exist in the zeitgeist would require medical intervention of rechargeable hearing aids.

Conductive

Often associated with sound transportation issues that are often mechanically inclined in the audible processes. Essentially conductive refers to issues or difficulties sound has travelling through the ear canal, eardrums, bones etc. This could be caused by excess ear wax, holes in the eardrums, fluid buildup, even leftover cotton from ear buds being stuck.

Sensorineural

The more common associative hearing loss demarcation is sensorineural. Nerve damage, natural aging, traumatic/excessive vibration damage, head injuries etc., can all cause irreparable damage that cannot be reversed. However, this is where the technological notion comes in to assist, as devices like cochlear implants and rechargeable hearing aids can amplify and improve the quality of life for those with this type of hearing loss.

Mixed

Mixed is essentially a combination of the previous two associations. The cause and treatment of which will vary wildly case by case.

The Technological Breakthroughs

The humble hearing aid truly is a miraculous device. The design itself has not changed so much since its inception decades ago, with most models of rechargeable hearing aid housing 4 key components: microphone, processor, power supply, and receiver.

As sound is received by the microphone it is collated through the processor, signaled into the receiver which transmits the data directly into the ear canal. As time has progressed, the power supply has been updated, the microphones have become more nuanced and discerning, and the receivers and processors have seen tremendous updates to their efficiency and efficacy in delivering more stable information.

Cochlear implants are a little different to rechargeable hearing aids in that there is a more permanent surgery involved that is more suited to those with profound auditory loss. It stimulates the auditory centre of the brain to elicit the sensation of sound mechanically.

The Future

One can only look to the future with a sense of optimism and hope. As the technology improves in rechargeable hearing aids to make them last longer and become more sensitive and individualised for each user, the common ailments of yesteryear will soon remain in the past. News of the Neuralink becoming more safe for consumer use in the next decade is also a silver lining to a horrendous start to the decade, and a renewed hope for auditory sufferers everywhere.

For now, those with slight to profound levels of auditory loss have cochlear implants or rechargeable hearing aids to choose from that will assuredly keep them living day-to-day.

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