Another new year is upon us and that often means promises we make to ourselves for self-improvement with a resolve to “stick to the plan”. Although we don’t always stay the course and our resolutions to go by the wayside, taking the steps required to finally fix your untreated hearing loss is a resolution that will provide benefits for 2018 and beyond.
It has been more than a decade since smartphones were first marketed heavily throughout the world. During that time, the use of smartphones has risen to nearly 40% of the global population. Billions of people have readily adapted to this new technology that has forever changed how they communicate and share ideas. As a result of this near universal acceptance, almost everyone on Earth visualizes a different device when hearing the term “phone” now than they did a decade ago.
What isn’t as widely known is that hearing aids have quietly shared in many of the technical advances that came about as a result of the extensive research done by the smartphone industry. For example, music streamed wirelessly from a phone to earbuds rivals the sound quality of “live” performances.
“How’s the sound quality of new hearing aids?” you ask.
“How’s the sound quality of new smartphones?” I answer.
Hearing aids and smartphones depend on the same advanced digital sound processing technology for an output of high quality sound, especially in noise. Component miniaturization, reliability, improved battery life and many other innovations that modern hearing aids utilize also come from the extensive research done by smartphone manufacturers. The tide of advancing sound processing technology lifted more than just smartphones. As devices, hearing aids and smartphones share many technical attributes, however, where the two differ is in acceptance and perceived long-term benefits.
For example, people readily accept smartphones despite several negative issues that smartphones are known for:
- Ongoing monthly expense for data and voice services
- Risk of social-media addiction
- Time requirements
- Long term health concerns from radio-frequency radiation and neck problems from the “smartphone slump”
On the other hand, many of the positive impacts that hearing aids can make are not widely known or readily accepted:
- Good hearing health has been conclusively linked with good long-term mental and physical health
- People who treat their hearing loss earn more over a lifetime than those who do not
- Increased speech comprehension means being able to participate in more activities, both indoor and out
- Time spent conversing with others while exchanging ideas has an overall positive effect on quality of life
With the global population affected by hearing loss expected to exceed one billion before the end of this century, the time to reexamine the most common reasons given for “putting off” getting hearing aids is long overdue.
Here are a few common reasons for “not” using hearing aids to treat known hearing loss;
- Price is Too Expensive – This is no longer a valid excuse. The cost for basic hearing aids starts out in the hundreds rather than thousands. Affordable, inexpensive hearing aids that help you hear better than ever before are readily available.
- Vanity – Nowadays, hearing aids are smaller and less noticeable than many commonly worn ear adornments. Your normal hearing friends will be relieved that you are able to take part more actively and your hearing impaired friends will be more encouraged about finding a similar solution for themselves. Take pride in choosing to wear devices that enhance your connection with the surrounding world every day of the year.
- Comfort – Today’s open-fit hearing aids are the definition of comfort compared to yesterday’s custom fit Completely-In-Canal or CIC hearing aids. They are designed for convenience as well as function, with a wide range of accessories to help you find the fit that is best for you.
If you or someone you know had a negative experience with hearing aids in the past, it’s important to note that hearing aids have changed just as much in the last ten years as phones have. There’s been huge improvements in both physical and acoustic comfort, as well as noise-handling capabilities.
In fact, customer surveys now indicate that the acceptance rate for basic hearing aids matches that of much more expensive premium hearing aids with add-on features that are often unnecessary.
So what does this all mean? With a new year just a few weeks old and New Year’s resolutions fresh on people’s minds, now is the time to address your untreated hearing loss. It has never been easier and less expensive to find hearing aids that will help you rise to the top of your hearing game and stay out of the stifling background noise that is holding you back.