Is this the right question to ask? In cases of hearing loss, the most common treatment hearing care professionals will offer is a hearing aid.
While we all wait for a permanent cure for hearing loss, many hearing aids are the best option available, as they help to maximise the hearing a person has left.
Like glasses or a walking frame, hearing assistancework to enhance sounds a person may no longer hear naturally, making it easier to hear important sounds for communication and environmental awareness, and as soon as a hearing loss is measurable it’s likely that a hearing aid can provide help.
If you or a loved one is recommended a hearing aid, a very natural question you may think to ask is “do I really need hearing help?”.
This certainly is understandable, and for people that rely upon their hearing for their occupation, for family or social responsibilities, or for personal safety, the answer may be a clear “yes, I do need a hearing help!”. However, considering it takes the average person seven to ten years to act upon their hearing loss, it’s obvious that many of us feel less certain about an answer.
“Do I need a hearing aid?” is the wrong question.
Simply considering whether a hearing aid is something you need might not give you the full picture, and a more important question that allows for an informed discussion to ask is “what do I risk by not acting now to improve my hearing?”.
This question allows you to understand the consequences of not choosing to proceed with hearing assistance, and the latest research on hearing health is starting to show that there are significant consequences both in the medium to long-term for those who decide to delay intervention.
Early adoption of hearing aids even in cases of mild hearing loss has a number of advantages over waiting:
• Those with hearing loss who don’t wear hearing aids are 50% more likely to develop mild cognitive impairment, a precursor to dementia, than those with hearing loss who wear hearing assistance
• Those with hearing loss who opt to not be fitted with hearing aids need to exhaust additional cognitive resources (ie. brainpower) engaging in challenging social situations, resulting in additional exhaustion and mental fatigue when with company
• Those with hearing loss who don’t wear hearing aids are at greater risk of social isolation, loneliness and depression
• Those with hearing loss without hearing aids are more likely to live sedentary lives with less physical activity
Modern hearing aids also provide a number of technological benefits.
Often referred to as “connectivity”, hearing aids can now be directly connected to media and phone sources of sound via Bluetooth technology in a similar way to earphone products, and can also access special accessibility settings of the phone, allowing for an enhanced phone or media experience, and greater connectedness to social and other entertainment activities.
Choosing to adopt hearing aids earlier saves the need for looking at other methods of hearing augmentation, such as TV entertainment system upgrades, earphones/headphones or assistive listening apps.
The early bird gets the worm, and the early hearing assistance adopter maximises the benefits of hearing assistance. When it comes to maximising the benefits of wearing a hearing assistance, there is a lot to gain from acting quickly, and a lot to lose if the decision is delayed.
Watch out for the early warning signs that should prompt you to act:
• Voices are audible but not clear – people tend to sound like they are mumbling more than before
• Situations with background noise are becoming increasingly more difficult
• You find yourself asking friends and family to repeat themselves often
• Your TV, car radio or phone are louder than others require
If you find yourself noticing any of these signs, or have more questions about your hearing ability, book your next appointment today.
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