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Advances in technology can now help the aurally challenged to overcome the stigma associated with the use of hearing aids. HEARING loss, unlike blindness, does not attract immediate attention although it affects an individual's performance and capability. The inner ear includes the "cochlea" (shaped like a snail) which contains fluid and hair cells. Just as there are varying degrees and reasons for hearing impairment, there are various treatment options to help amplify sound and improve the quality of life for those with hearing loss.
Problems like ear discharge, conductive deafness, dizziness and facial nerve disorders are now being routinely treated and cured by simple surgeries.
When hearing loss cannot be corrected medically or surgically, the patient is forced to wear a hearing aid. Children and adults with severe to profound nerve deafness (they cannot discriminate sound in words and language) with little to no benefit with standard hearing aids are candidates for cochlear implant surgery.
A profoundly deaf ear is typically one in which the hair cells of the cochlea are damaged or reduced in number. All cochlear implant systems consist of a microphone and speech processor (worn outside the body like a standard hearing aid), a signal coupler (receiver cum transmitter worn over the skin behind the ear) and an internal part from which one or more electrodes emanate which are implanted into the cochlea. After surgery, the candidate (especially a child) has to undergo rigorous training for periods extending upto a few years in order to recognise and understand speech. There are a number of different cochlear implants currently available: Clarion, Nucleus and MED-EL being the pioneers. Also called middle ear implants, they have been developed for patients with conductive hearing loss and sensorineural hearing loss with substantial remaining hearing. It was the first implantable hearing aid for the sensorineural type of hearing loss and received the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval in 2000.
Over 20 years of extensive research conducted primarily at Washington University School of Medicine, St.Louis, led to the development of this device.
The clinical trials for the MET have been successful and it has been proved that it is safe. Although, the two devices explained above have an external part that is to be worn behind the ear, it is so small that it gets hidden beneath the hair and is easily detachable making it convenient to wear. The Totally Integrated Cochlear Amplifier (TICA) — (Implex American Hearing Systems) and The Envoy System are examples of completely implantable hearing aids. The single most important advantage is cosmesis, since they are either completely or mostly invisible. The disadvantages are the cost factor, limited availability and limited experience with the use of these devices.
Although several hurdles still exist, the potential advantages and increasing number of people who would benefit from such devices continue to fuel their development. This is a guest post by IBN member Donna DeRosa, an author and personal development and lifestyle management coach.
Designing your website to be accessible to as many people as possible is key if you want to be successful online.
Since every entrepreneur would like for as many people as possible to easily navigate their website, I am excited to share these tips to help you make your website more accessible to hearing and vision impaired persons. More than 4% of adults in the US are color blind, meaning they cannot see that certain text is highlighted on your website. Backgrounds with too much texture can also make text appear washed out as the text tends to blend in with the background.
Many people with vision impairment issues use screen readers, which use speech synthesizers to read aloud the text displayed on a computer screen.

Your alternate text is also read by search engines, so including it adds another dimension of relevancy to your site content. If you use audio or offer a podcast, include a written summary or a full transcript so more people can enjoy what you have to offer. If you host a podcast, include a written summary or a full transcript so more people can enjoy it. Designing your site to make it as user friendly as possible will also make it easier for smartphone and tablet users to do business with you. In 2014, mobile usage surpassed desktop usage, so more people (including online shoppers!) are accessing the Internet on a mobile devices than on a laptop or desktop.
What do you do to make your site content accessible to the hearing and vision impaired community, and to as many people as possible generally?
A deaf person, more often than not, delays seeking medical help, partly due to the wrong notion that his condition is incurable. In combination, the outer and middle ear function as part of the conductive hearing system.
The vibrations transmitted by the ossicles to the cochlea make the fluid within it move which in turn moves the hair cells. Although technical improvements and modifications have aided the performance of the conventional hearing aids, these can still be uncomfortable to wear and have a considerable "feedback effect" which is one of the most annoying adverse effects of their use. The receiver cum transmitter is placed on the skin behind the ear and is held magnetically to the internal part. It is important to clearly understand the time commitments involved before making a decision about the cochlear implant. In general, there are two types of implantable middle ear devices: partially implantable and completely implantable. The results are also far superior to the results achieved after the use of conventional hearing aids. Costs associated with the development of these devices as well as surgical implantation make these devices considerably more expensive than conventional hearing aids. Although in the early stages, it holds great promise as after being implanted, nothing is apparent outside. They consist of the main body (surgically implanted into the bone behind the ear), a microphone for picking up sound (implanted under the skin of the ear canal near the ear drum or onto the eardrum itself) and a direct connector to the bones in the middle ear. When compared to conventional hearing aids, they provide much better perception of hearing by allowing the ear canal to remain open.
That’s a lot of potential sales that could be lost simply because the content at your website is not organized in a way that makes it accessible to hearing and vision impaired persons. If you have a big box on your site that calls out a sale or promotion, you might think a bright red background with white text will really pop. For example, the Google Chrome Spectrum Extension allows you to instantly test your site page with different types of color vision deficiency.
These programs read headlines and main body copy, along with the alternate and link text on photos. A summary will also help with search engine optimization, because search engines scan text, not audio.
But did you know that more than 2 million people in the US still access the Internet through AOL’s dial-up service? Do share your tips and feedback in the comments below, or share on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Donna Maria teaches Makers and Creative Entrepreneurs how to use technology and community to build a profitable, sustainable business.

Sound waves picked up by the outer ear vibrate the eardrum, which then causes movement of the ossicles. These cells generate electrical signals which are sent to the brain via the auditory nerve which is the nerve of hearing.
Consequently, conventional hearing aids that merely amplify sound do not work in such cases. A depression is created surgically beneath the skin in the bone behind the ear into which the internal part is placed. Sound is picked up by the eardrum, amplified and passed directly to the bones in the middle ear, from where it is sent to the cochlea. The speakers shared tips to help people attract more happy visitors to any kind of website. Some people have older computers or outdated browsers, and many use a mobile phone for everything. If you use video on your website, consider adding captions or making closed captions available to your viewers.
This services is a whopping 200 times slower than the average broadband connection, making it super important that you do all you can to ensure that your site loads quickly and is easy to navigate. But thanks to technological breakthroughs, we have now overcome the stigma associated with the use of hearing aids. These problems have now been overcome by various hi-tech devices which are approved for the rehabilitation of conductive, sensorineural and mixed hearing loss. In contrast, cochlear implants are surgically implanted devices that bypass the damaged hair cells and directly stimulate the hearing nerve with an electric current, allowing individuals who are profoundly or totally deaf to receive sound. The sound signals picked up by the microphone are processed and converted into electrical impulses which are sent via the electrodes into the cochlea. A small part of the device that is present outside the skin behind the ear gets hidden easily by the hair. Devices such as the TICA and Envoy System, allow the patient to continue receiving amplification even while swimming or bathing. Others may have a disability that makes it difficult to access the content on your website. Do not use your company name or the blog post or page title because neither tell a vision impaired person about the image on the screen. Although many of the auditory nerve fibres may be intact and capable of transmitting electrical impulses to the brain; without the presence of functioning hair cells, the nerve fibres remain unstimulated.
The electrical signals stimulate the hearing nerve and the signals are then sent to the brain. These devices have a built-in battery, which can be charged using a headphone-like device and have a remote control for control of sound quality. This impairment may be due to a variety of reasons and may be corrected by medical or surgical treatment. Sensorineural deafness cannot be corrected medically and the patient requires a hearing aid.
Following surgery, the patient returns to the implant clinic after one month for fitting of the external portion of the device.

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