How Hearing Works

To understand hearing loss, it is important to understand how normal hearing works. Sound waves are collected by the outer ear and channeled down the ear canal to the eardrum. When sound hits the eardrum, the impact creates vibrations that are transferred to three tiny bones in the middle ear. The smallest of these bones, the stapes, fits into the oval window between the middle and inner ear. These bones transfer the vibrations to a sensory organ in the inner ear called the cochlea. When the vibrations from the stapes are transferred to the oval window, fluid in the inner ear transmits the vibrations into the cochlea. The fluid’s wave-like action bends thousands of microscopic hair cells, setting off nerve impulses that pass through the auditory nerve to the hearing center of the brain, where they are translated into sound.

Limitations of Hearing Aids

Hearing aid patients with moderate to severe hearing loss often require a custom mold to fit tightly in the ear canal in order to manage feedback. This provides as much sound pressure as possible in the ear canal and minimizes sound leakage.  However, by blocking or occluding the ear canal, the natural physics of the hearing system are changed which may alter the perception of one’s own voice when talking. This often makes the wearer’s voice sound hollow or “in a barrel” which is called the occlusion effect.

Hearing aids with custom molds often cause amplified sound waves to reflect and bump into each other, which can make sounds louder but not clearer.  This distorted sound quality makes it difficult to understand speech. 
Feedback occurs when the amplified sound from a hearing aid speaker makes its way back to the microphone. This sets up a feedback loop and the result is a squealing or whistling sound. As gain is increased, more sound energy escapes back to the microphone, resulting in more feedback. Therefore, feedback limits the amount of gain and benefit that hearing aids may provide.
How is MAXUM Different?

Types of Hearing Loss

Sensorineural loss results from damage to the inner ear, the nerve of hearing or both. The loss often occurs gradually so it may go unnoticed by the affected person for years. One of the most common causes of sensorineural hearing loss is excessive noise exposure. While this can be prevented with the use of hearing protection, once the damage has occurred a hearing device is the only treatment. The treatment for sensorineural loss is amplification through hearing aids or hearing implants.

Patients with moderate to severe sensorineural hearing loss may be a candidate for the MAXUM System.  

Conductive loss is caused by a condition that interferes with the transmission of sound through the outer or middle ear. The result is a reduction in the sound intensity or loudness that reaches the cochlea (inner ear). Most of the causes of conductive loss can be at least partially corrected through medical intervention. Conductive losses that are not improved through surgery or medication may be improved with hearing devices.

Sensorineural and conductive hearing loss can occur simultaneously. Physicians refer to this as “mixed loss”. This means that a problem occurs in both the outer or middle and the inner ear.

Your physician or audiologist will perform several audiometric tests and a medical examination to determine whether you are a candidate for the MAXUM System.

Hear What Others Are Saying

''I got a lot of distortion and static with my hearing aids.
The crispness and quality of sound with MAXUM blows you away.''

–Paige A., MAXUM User since 2001
Hear What Others Are Saying