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How can technology assist disabled? Ear Science, Hearing disability, if managed at the right time, with the right technology and the right medical assistance, there is no reason for an individual to suffer the consequences of hearing disability. Today science has developed to such an extent that almost every individual with hearing difficulty can be helped with hearing technology. It may be via the help of hearing aids, middle ear implants, cochlear implants, or brainstem implants. Results will of course vary depending on how soon the patient takes a decision to seek help. As I said, if an individual is made aware and if we are able to intervene at the right time, hearing loss need not be a disabling condition. Which hearing aid is best for any particular type of hearing loss and lifestyle? There is no such thing as the best hearing aid. Every hearing aid will help to a certain degree. However, there are technological differences within hearing aids that offer differing amounts of benefits. If a patient’s lifestyle and hearing needs are limited, for example, able to hear conversations at home a basic hearing aid should suffice. On the contrary, if the patient leads a semi-active lifestyle and steps out of home on a regular basis to places like markets, banks, etc. then a patient will require slightly advanced hearing aids. However, if a patient has very demanding listening needs owing to very active social interactions for example - meetings and group discussions then patient will benefit the most from the latest technology of hearing aids. Technology selection is based not just on patients’ lifestyles but also on their type and severity of hearing loss and most importantly their brain’s ability to filter and process different degrees of hearing loss. So selection of the so-called best hearing aid is not a straightforward process rather it requires a thorough understanding of the patient’s hearing loss, lifestyle, personality traits, and cognitive abilities.

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