Not sure where to start?
For many people taking the first steps to addressing their hearing problems can be daunting. In fact, the statistics show that it can be up to 10 years from a person first noticing issues to addressing them. In many cases it’s loved ones that notice first.
Hearing loss can have a huge impact on your relationships with husbands, wives, children, grandchildren, family & friends.
We always encourage you to attend your hearing assessment with a significant other. This helps us build a greater picture of your lifestyle and how your hearing issues are affecting it.
Loved ones are typically the best people to judge your difficulties. They’re the ones that spend time with you and they know the impact.
It can be very frustrating for loved ones having to constantly repeat themselves. As a persons hearing deteriorates they see them go from being an active person to avoiding situations, often beginning to isolate themselves. The person often stops going to gatherings or clubs that they once enjoyed.
It can be difficult to encourage a person to address their hearing loss when they don’t want to admit to it. They often make excuses as to why they won’t wear a hearing aid. These are often based on old fashioned stigmas and perceptions of what hearing aids are like.
Common objections to hearing aids
- Hearing aids are big and clumsy – this isn’t true, in fact many hearing aids are invisible these days. Invisible hearing aids are suitable for around 90% of hearing losses.
- Hearing aids are for old people – whilst many people suffer with hearing loss due to ageing of the ears in fact the average age of first time wearers has come down significantly. This is due to lifestyle effects as well as the breakdown of previously held perceptions. Modern hearing aids are very discreet. Many younger people with active lifestyles wear hearing aids. It is well documented that untreated hearing loss leads to faster cognitive decline as the person withdraws from life. This actually gives a greater perception of being older. Acting on your hearing loss keeps you involved and your brain younger.
As a significant other what can I do to help?
- Spend time with your loved one asking them what they think about hearing aids. Ask them what sort of person they think would wear a hearing aid or what they think hearing aids look like? Show them what hearing aids look like and remind them that young vibrant people are much more active than those who struggle with communication.
- Visit a hearing professional yourself. Take time to ask questions about the process, hearing aids and the services they provide to build your own knowledge. Consider if you feel this person would put your loved one at ease. To be successful first time it is vital that your loved one is comfortable with the hearing professional
- Does the hearing professional offer free trials? This can really take the pressure off for a first time user. It is never wise to try forcing some to ‘get hearing aids’, it is much better for them to be able to have a free trial without any commitment to purchase hearing aids.
- Let them know, in a gentle and kind way, when they miss things that other people are picking up. Tell them how much better it was that they were able to be involved.
Hearing loss in a language we understand
One of the most common misconceptions that we come across as audiologists is the statement:
“I’m not deaf so why do I need a hearing aid?”
The best way to look at this is by a comparison that we are more familiar with. Around 60% of the UK population wear glasses or contact lenses to help correct their vision. Do we consider them to be blind? Of course we don’t. We wear glasses as it helps to correct our sight that has diminished but it doesn’t mean we can’t see. An optician, much like an audiologist, will provide a prescription to correct the persons vision.
Visiting an optician to prescribe glasses is common place with many people even considering glasses to be a fashion accessory.
Much like glasses, hearing aids help us to correct the portion of our hearing sense that has diminished. It doesn’t mean we are deaf, it means we have a hearing loss that needs to be corrected. We can consider it to being alike to the need for reading glasses as we get older.
Where with reading glasses we have lost the ability to see small print, with hearing we have lost clarity of words. We are still able to hear the headlines so to speak, but have lost the ability to hear the finer print. In hearing this is where we can hear well on a one to one basis but are unable to hear when there is background noise present. The volume is there but the clarity has gone.
Modern hearing instruments will filter the background noise out and allow you to hear the speech clarity again. Invisible hearing aids are suitable for around 90% of hearing losses and they’re also automatic. So just like glasses you put them in and forget you’re even wearing them.