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Hearing Aid Acclimation

I'm a 40 year old female with severe mixed hearing loss in my right ear since birth--cause unknown, 7 weeks premature.  I found out a year ago that I'm now losing hearing in my left ear as well.  I went in for testing again last week and found out I'd lost another 5 db on the left since my test last year.  I am also in treatment for TMJ which I discovered because of ear pain and pressure from my lower jaw pushing back towards my ears.  (Confirmed through multiple tests including an MRI.)

Up until now, it was determined that the technology available in hearing aids wouldn't help my "bad" right ear much.  With the new technology, my Audiologist anticipates I'll have between 30 and 70% speech recognition in my right ear.  With this in mind, as well as the fact that I'm losing hearing in my "good" ear, I've opted to try the hearing aids.  I have a pair of Siemens 700 Pure Carat hearing aids that should be arriving next week along with a mini-Tek.  I'm really hopeful that I'll find some success with the hearing aids in helping me understand more of what is going on around me, especially in the work and social settings.

One of the things I'm really concerned about is that my brain is not wired to process sound from my right ear since I've had severe loss in that ear since birth.  Is this something I should be concerned about?  I've had mixed responses from my last couple audiologists when I've asked this.  Also, would some kind of therapy help me acclimate to the hearing aids and increase my chances of success with the hearing aids?  If so, what kind of therapist should I be looking for?  Should I be considering speech therapy as well?  I've always literally talked out of the side of my mouth towards my good ear which has weakened the muscles on the other side of my face.  Also, are there any kinds of therapists I should be seeking out to help me cope if the hearing in my good ear continues to decline?

I would appreciate any insight your could provide in helping me as I try to adapt to my hearing loss. As I have searched for internet answers it seems most information out there is geared towards young children or seniors and I'm really unsure what resources or specialists are out there for general adults.

Many thanks,

2 Responses
Avatar universal
I noticed no one responds on this forum but saw your concerns. Just sending you a little prayer and hope your hearing aids was successful.


1740498 tn?1328962585
You may have already made this decision. If so, how did things turn out?

There is some truth to the fact that a hearing aid may not be as helpful as it might have been if you had used one on that ear previously. If the auditory nerve is not stimulated, it tends to atrophy (shrink). However...

As far as the brain processing sound, you'd be surprised how flexible your brain can be. If it can process sound from your good ear, it can process sound from your bad ear.

The only thing that would be a question mark is the sound getting to the processing area accurately. It has to go through your unused right cochlea, up your unused right auditory nerve, through your unused right cochlear nucleus... but from there, your brain has experience with sound.

The rest of the processing areas are shared by the left and right sides. Here's a picture of where the sound goes through: http://www.edoctoronline.com/media/19/photos_5DAD473D-4A69-4D60-B68B-84EC52E3CCA5.jpg

Hopefully that link works. It just shows how sound crossed over very early along the line and is relayed/processed by both sides of the brain, no matter which side it comes in on.

If money is not a major factor (when is it not?), I would try a hearing aid. With today's compression programs, even profound high frequency can be compensated for much bette than in the past.

Most of the time you have 30 days or more to try out a hearing aid. If you don't like it, you can get your money back. That should be long enough to make a decision. Ask your audiologist about that. And let us know how it goes! :)
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