Hearing loss is very common – one in three people over sixty are living with hearing loss. As we age, hearing loss becomes more prevalent for many reasons. Untreated cases (those not wearing a hearing aid) have been linked to a wide range of side effects that decrease quality of life; increased depression, social isolation, anxiety, paranoia and cognitive decline. It also makes it harder for people with hearing loss to maintain good social relationships. Studies show that addressing hearing loss can help reduce the risk of dementia.
There is no reason to put off making an appointment with a hearing professional. There are several tests your audiologist will perform to help determine what your hearing needs are including pure tone testing, bone conduction testing, video otoscopy and speech testing. It is recommended to bring a spouse or close family member to your first appointment. Your family will be able to give important feedback and help develop the best treatment for you. This is an important first step to understanding your hearing loss.
Find the right hearing aid or other assistive devices:
There are so many options for hearing aids. Many are almost invisible to others. The technology has improved dramatically so even if you tried before, it is time to try again.
- Consider usability – This includes considering rechargeable batteries, size, noise reduction, blue tooth capabilities, manual controls, IP rating. Each person has their own needs and comfort level with technology. Plus, some hearing aids are designed to work better for specific issues such as tinnitus, dementia or severe hearing loss.
- Discuss the accessories – ask about the accessories that might be needed to expand or enhance capabilities or lifespan, such as chargers, batteries and cleaning tools.
- Go digital – digital hearing aids use advanced technology to digitalize sounds before amplifying so they can deliver a cleaner sound.
- Ensure the hearing aid is locally programmable
- Understand the trial period
- Ask about customer support and follow up appointments for adjustments
- Cost – Many insurances will offer some coverage or a discount. Make sure to look at all your possible discounts including veteran’s benefits. To make it a little easier, some hearing aid stores will offer 0%financing options to allow you to break up the payment over time.
Keep in mind, the important thing is finding a hearing aid that works well for you.