WHAT CAN A HEARING AID DO FOR ME?
Top 6 things hearing aids can do:
- 1. Give you more energy: if you have an unaided hearing loss, you spend a lot of energy just trying to listen every day. A hearing aid can reduce that effort, and free up some of your energy to use elsewhere in your life.
- 2. Keep you connected: untreated hearing loss, which may gradually deteriorate over years, can lead people to start withdrawing from social situations, as it is not fun to constantly miss the joke, or to "fake it" or pull the good ol' "nod-n-smile". Eventually, it becomes easier to stay at home than to attend a function, so people withdraw from social interaction, leading to long-term isolation and loneliness. Strong social connections, laughter, exercise, and activity have been shown to keep the brain young.
- 3. "You've saved my marriage!" As audiologists, we are not marriage counsellors, but we have received some pretty strong positive feedback from our patients' significant others, and family members, over the years. Hearing impairment becomes a "third party" disability for the friends and family of the person with a hearing loss, which over years, can lead to frustration. We have an excellent book in both clinics by Dr. Dusty Jessen called "Frustrated by Hearing Loss?" which you are welcome to borrow, or buy for $20. Many patients have reported it has given them concrete strategies for better communication.
- 4. Staying relevant (and well-compensated!) in the workplace: You don't want to miss out on speech in the workplace. At best, you might miss a joke or a side comment in a meeting. At worst, someone may be speaking to you and you're not aware they're there, or you may hear what they've said incorrectly, leading to all sorts of miscommunication adventures. Hearing aids have been shown to mitigate loss of income due to hearing loss by 90%-100% for people with mild hearing loss, and 65%-77% for people with moderate to severe hearing losses (Kochkin, 2010).
- 5. Relief from Tinnitus: If your tinnitus is related to hearing loss - and it most often is - a properly fitted set of hearing aids will, for approximately 90% of people, reduce the perception of the tinnitus while you're wearing the aids. For a small percentage of people, this relief lasts even after the hearing aids are taken out - this is called "residual inhibition". It is very important to first rule out other medical causes of tinnitus, so see an audiologist who is trained to know if you need further assessment.
- 6. Improved Quality of Life: For many elderly people with untreated hearing loss, it is so difficult to communicate appropriately that they eventually avoid social situations, which leads to isolation over the long term. Depression can follow. Research has shown that wearing properly fitted hearing aids can help improve the social and emotional impact of hearing loss, as well as increase communication and decrease self-reports of depressive symptoms.
Extensive research and development has gone into developing the technology behind each hearing aid. The manufacturers are working hard to bring you the best hearing possible.
Besides background noise suppression, modern hearing aids use compression which makes soft sounds louder, and loud sounds are made softer. They are also designed to have a limit as to how loud they can go, so that they won't damage your ears further.
In the 2014 MarkeTrak 9 report, which surveyed 17,000 households in the USA, 90% of people who purchased hearing aids within the past year reported being satisfied with them. This is up from 74% for those who purchased hearing aids 6 or more years ago. This means fewer hearing aids are ending up in the drawer - the latest research shows only 3% are ending up "in the drawer," compared with 12% in the MarkeTrak 8 survey.
If you're interested in a bit more of the history of hearing aids, ask us to make a presentation to your local club or group. We even have an ear horn you can try out.
At Kapiti Hearing, your audiologist is able to fit the latest and best-suited technology to you, from any quality manufacturer available in NZ. An appropriate solution for your particular hearing loss, listening needs, and budget is a complex choice.
We are experts in adult hearing rehabilitation at Kapiti Hearing, so we can help you find that perfect solution.