While most people recognize their hearing isn’t as acute as it used to be, there seems to be some confusion on when, if ever, to seek help. The rule of thumb for most medical problems is the sooner-the-cheaper, and when to purchase hearing aids is no different.
The list of reasons for not treating hearing loss gets shorter every year, while the list of reasons to consider purchasing hearing aids grows longer each day you ignore it. Untreated hearing loss is becoming more commonplace and has been clinically shown to negatively impact more than just casual conversation. In fact, it has an impact on your health, your relationships, and your overall quality of life. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Do You Need Hearing Aids?
If you, or someone you know, suffer from any of the following symptoms, you may benefit from hearing aids:
- stress and depression
- withdrawal, social situation avoidance
- reduced alertness and increased risk to personal safety
- reduced cognitive function long-term
- diminished job performance and earning power
The Good News for Those with Hearing Loss
Hearing loss affects most people of retirement age to some degree, and it’s becoming more common in younger people as well, especially those frequently exposed to loud sounds.
The good news is that technology’s rapid development in the past decade has had a profound effect on the hearing aid industry, just as it has on all wearable electronics. Today, the hearing aid stigma from the past is being washed away by a steady stream of wearable electronics, from the Apple Watch to the Google Glass. In fact, the sound processors in the latest generation of hearing aids are more advanced than the ones in many smartphones.
Some smartphones are now even smartphone comptablem, with the potential to be controlled by an app. Noise filters, multi-port directional microphones, and a host of other new features in digital hearing aids make the soundscape around you sound more natural, but with the added clarity and volume you’ve been missing. While the improved ability to hear more clearly is an obvious benefit, the added affect it has on other aspects of your health and lifestyle are just as beneficial.
Questions to Consider if You Suspect Hearing Loss
The process of diagnosing hearing loss and improving your lifestyle starts with a hearing test. To take a simplified version of a hearing test, you might consist of asking yourself some of the following questions:
Do you experience ringing or noises in your ears?
Do you hear better with one ear than with the other?
Have any of your relatives (by birth) had a hearing loss?
Have you had any significant noise exposure at work, during recreation or in military service?
Do you find it difficult to follow a conversation in a noisy restaurant or crowded room?
Do you sometimes feel that people are mumbling or not speaking clearly?
Do you find yourself asking people to speak up or repeat themselves?
Do you find men's voices easier to understand than women's?
Do you sometimes have difficulty understanding speech on the telephone?
Does a hearing problem cause you to feel embarrassed when meeting new people?
Does a hearing problem cause you to visit friends, relatives, or neighbors less often than you would like?
Does a hearing problem cause you to feel depressed?
If several of the answers to these questions were “YES," then it is possible you might have a hearing loss that needs to be addressed. You may consider visiting an audiologist and having your hearing tested; an audiogram will provide a clearer picture of the true diagnosis. The good news is that if you are diagnosed with hearing loss, there’s a good chance that hearing aids can help and may improve more than just your hearing.
The Next Best Steps if You Suspect Hearing Loss
Be sure and ask for a copy of your audiogram. There are many hearing aid options available today and finding the right one for you – both financially and physically is key. Getting a second and even third opinion, when shopping for hearing aids can literally save you thousands of dollars, and it’s simple and as close as the Internet. Do your research, talk to a few experts and make sure you understand that the final choice is yours. Don’t let someone tell you that your only option is to spend thousands of dollars on special, custom order hearing aids with features that you may never use.
Music, sweethearts, grandchildren, movies, TV, restaurant/vehicle conversations, and customers are all negatively affected by prolonged hearing loss so why wait?
Vanity and cost no longer cut it as excuses. Hearing aids are comfortable to wear, physically and sound wise. Most are virtually invisible when worn. Costs vary but the smart buyer with moderate hearing loss, can improve job performance and income potential for a few hundred dollars per ear.
Learn more about living with hearing loss by reading our posts: