Ask the Audiologist: Can Hearing Aids Restore My Hearing to Normal?

December 4, 2023

As an audiologist, I often encounter the question, "Can hearing aids restore my hearing to normal?" 

It's important to have realistic expectations and understand that while hearing aids significantly improve your hearing experience, they do not return it to a completely 'normal' state. 

In this article, we will explore in-depth how hearing aids work, their limitations, and their role in managing hearing loss.

Understanding How Hearing Aids Function

Hearing aids are essentially sound amplifiers. They pick up external sounds via a microphone, increase the volume through a digital amplifier, and direct the amplified sound into the user's ear through a speaker. This constitutes the primary function of all hearing aids.

Modern hearing aids come with advanced features designed to improve the user's hearing experience. Some of these features include:

  • Noise reduction controls: These controls reduce background noise, allowing users to focus more on the sounds they want to hear.
  • Sudden loud sound detectors: These detectors mute very loud sudden sounds, protecting the user's hearing.
  • Tinnitus features: Some hearing aids can help manage tinnitus by playing sounds at a certain frequency.
  • Connectivity to smartphones and other Bluetooth devices: This feature allows users to stream calls, music, and other media directly to their hearing aids for a better sound clarity and speech comprehension.
  • Artificial Intelligence: many hearing aid models utilize machine learning and artificial intelligence to learn more about the users and improve the sound processing. 

Despite these advanced features, hearing aids are not without limitations.

Why Hearing Aids Can't Restore Hearing to Normal

Hearing aids cannot restore 'normal' hearing due to the complex nature of our auditory system. Our brain is designed to process sound in specific ways, and hearing aids cannot replicate this exact process.

This is a common concern because many people view hearing aids as a solution to completely reverse hearing loss, much like glasses can restore vision to near-normal levels. However, hearing loss is typically a complex condition, often resulting from damage to the delicate structures in the ear. While hearing aids are highly effective in amplifying sounds and improving communication, they don't actually 'cure' the underlying hearing loss. They are designed to make the best use of the hearing you have left, enhancing your ability to hear and interpret sounds more clearly.

In a crowded room, for example, a person with undamaged hearing can quickly tune into various conversations. Although advanced hearing aids can help tune into different sounds, they cannot do it as accurately as our ears do. Some sounds, such as wind, may come out a little distorted when received through a hearing aid.

The Role of Hearing Aids in Hearing Loss Management

While hearing aids cannot restore your hearing to normal, they play a crucial role in managing hearing loss. Here's how:

Improving Sound Awareness

Hearing aids increase the volume of sounds, improving your awareness of your surroundings. This is particularly beneficial when engaging in conversations or listening to the television.

Maintaining Brain Health

Without a hearing aid, the part of your brain responsible for interpreting sounds can become dormant, leading to cell inactivity. Regular usage of hearing aids helps keep this part of the brain active, preventing it from shrinking due to inactivity.

Enhancing Quality of Life

With a hearing aid, you can actively participate in conversations both in-person and over the phone, thereby improving your social interactions. Additionally, a hearing aid increases your environmental awareness, enhancing your personal safety.

"Hearing aids can significantly improve the daily listening experience and social interactions of most people." - Dr. Emma Durazzo, Audiologist & Co-founder, Anywhere Audiology.

Getting the Most Out of Your Hearing Aids

To maximize the benefits of your hearing aids, it's essential to:

  • Wear them as often as possible: This helps your ears adapt to the hearing aids and allows you to process sounds more efficiently over time.
  • Maintain them properly: Regularly cleaning your hearing aid and keeping it dry prolongs its lifespan and ensures better hearing quality.
  • Schedule regular follow-ups with your audiologist: This allows your audiologist to evaluate your progress and make necessary adjustments to your treatment plan.

How Anywhere Audiology Can Help

At Anywhere Audiology, we understand the unique hearing challenges each person faces. We offer comprehensive hearing tests, hearing aid trials, warranty and service plans, and excellent customer care support. We are committed to helping our patients in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania improve their hearing and overall quality of life.

For anyone interested in scheduling a hearing test or hearing aid evaluation, please call us at 201-731-8828. Let us help you navigate your hearing journey and select the best hearing aid prescription for your needs.

At-Home Hearing Care in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania

While hearing aids cannot restore your hearing to normal, they significantly improve your auditory processing abilities, thereby enhancing your quality of life. As a reliable, customer-centric, and trustworthy hearing care provider, we at Anywhere Audiology are here to guide you on your journey to improved hearing.

Remember, hearing aids are tools that help manage hearing loss, but they are not a cure. They are similar to glasses, which help us see better but do not cure nearsightedness or farsightedness.

Written by
Reviewed by
Dr. Emma Durazzo
Owner & Doctor of Audiology
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With years of experience and continued professional training, Emma Durazzo (formerly Emma McCue) has developed her expertise in a variety of subspecialties within the scope of audiology.