Like many Americans, you may have been diagnosed with hearing loss. In fact, your hearing loss may be so severe that it’s affecting your daily life and your hearing care professional has recommended intervention. It’s a good thing that you’ve pinpointed a problem and that a solution exists. You could be hearing better as soon as tomorrow. So, what’s stopping you?
Some people diagnosed with hearing loss have existing aversions to purchasing hearing aids. If you’re one of them, we’ve got a few misconceptions to clear away for you!
Fiction: Hearing aids will make me look old
Fact: Hearing loss affects people from every age group. While hearing loss is a natural occurrence of the aging process and effects a large percentage of folks over 65, it’s a condition that doesn’t discriminate. What that means is that twenty percent of Americans have some degree of hearing loss and they’re not all at the older end of the age spectrum, but can be found throughout the lifespan. In fact, sixty percent of the people with hearing loss are either in the workforce or in educational settings.
Fiction: People will treat me differently because I wear a visible hearing aid
Fact: Hearing aids, both their technology and design, have advanced by leaps and bounds in the past few decades. There’s a good chance that there’s a hearing aid for you that is barely detectable by others.
Today’s audiology is so powerful that incredible amplification and intelligence can be found in the smallest, in-the-canal hearing devices. And their incredible design makes them so comfortable that you might forget you’re wearing them, too!
Many hearing devices think for you and automatically adjust their settings when presented with changing listening environments. However, if you do need to make an adjustment, many hearing aids are compatible with smartphone apps that make adjusting your settings look just the same as checking your text messages.
Fiction: Hearing aids will restore my previous hearing levels.
Fact: Unfortunately, most hearing loss is an irreversible condition. And while getting a hearing aid will decrease your listening effort, it won’t restore your hearing levels to normal or undamaged. And the period of adjustment with new hearing aids is unavoidable. It may take one or even several adjustments by your hearing professional before you and your hearing aids are working together at optimum levels. This isn’t meant to dissuade you from investing in hearing aids at all! Instead, it is best to enter into the situation with clear expectations and a degree of patience in order to eliminate frustration.
And remember that while hearing levels of your past are unavailable to you now, that doesn’t mean that you have to adjust to a life of difficult hearing. After you’ve gotten your new hearing aids and gone through the adjustment period, you’ll relearn the ways that you interact with sound. So while your hearing will certainly be different, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s worse.
Fiction: My hearing is worse than before, but I can handle my hearing loss without intervention.
Fact: This might be true. For now. But a near certainty is that hearing capabilities declines over time. So, while your current level of hearing loss may be somewhat manageable, it will eventually and progressively get worse. Sometimes so subtly that you’ll be unaware of it’s impact until much later. The good news is that wearing a hearing aid slows the decline of hearing health. Early intervention in the form of a hearing device is the best prevention of dramatic future hearing loss.
As the sounds that you hear decrease, your brain’s pathways become unused and begin to disappear. Think of the path of sound to its interpretation by your brain as your favorite hiking trail. The creation of and maintenance of this trail is dependent upon frequent use to keep it clear and unobstructed. If, after months or years of neglect you tried to find your way down this same path, you might find it untraversable and unfollowable.
Introducing a hearing aid at early stages of hearing loss are similar. You want to keep those information passages free, clear and well-used so that you can continue to recognize and make sense of the sounds you’re hearing.
You don’t have to live with untreated hearing loss. Visit us at Bay Area Hearing Services today to schedule a hearing test and begin your journey to better hearing.