Below are eight factors that consumers confront when considering their hearing loss—and some solid reasons why they should visit your practice. (Hearing Review gives permission to reuse/revise the following copy as part of your marketing efforts.)
1) The good news: Just about any hearing problem can now be solved through today’s advanced hearing aids and/or other devices. With only the rarest exceptions, there is no longer a hearing loss that exists today that cannot be helped by some form of technology and skilled hearing care. Today, we have PSAP and assistive hearing devices (and soon OTC hearing devices) and apps for milder hearing losses; we have hearing aids for the vast majority of people with mild-to-severe hearing losses; we have bone-conduction solutions and cochlear implants for more severe and profound hearing losses, and even auditory brainstem implants for people with rare birth defects or tumors. We also have remote microphones and loop (telecoil) systems, TV devices, captioned telephones, and much more. If you or someone you know has a hearing loss, there is a solution out there that will lead to better hearing!
2) The bad news: Untreated hearing loss can negatively affect your physical and mental health—and even your income. Numerous studies have linked untreated hearing loss to a variety of chronic health conditions, including falls and balance issues, cardiovascular problems, and even earlier death! As with all the conditions listed here, researchers are quick to note that “association does not imply causality”—meaning hearing loss may be linked to these things, but might not necessarily cause of them. But it’s increasingly clear that hearing health does impact your general health. At the top of the list of bad things associated with hearing loss are poorer marital/conjugal relationships, social isolation and loneliness. Not surprisingly, negative feelings about self-worth and depression are much higher in people with hearing loss. Additionally, hearing loss is increasingly linked to cognitive impairment and dementia. Finally, a 2005 study found that individuals with the most serious hearing loss could be expected to earn $12,000 less per year than an individual with a mild hearing loss.
3) Your best bet is to seek help from an EXCELLENT licensed hearing care professional who uses best practices. Although there may be a variety of products and pathways for gaining access to amplification devices, by far the most effective route you can take is to see a skilled hearing care professional who has a stellar reputation in your local area. A recent study shows that hearing aids have an extremely high customer satisfaction rate (86%). A hearing aid from a licensed professional who performs the tests and procedures according to “best practices” is well worth the money.
4) Financing can make hearing aid payments easier. Particularly if you’re on a fixed income, you might not have enough cash on hand to cover the cost of a hearing aid. Financing the purchase of a hearing aid, cochlear implant, and/or other recommended devices is a great option. Through financing, you can opt for a series of payments over time instead of one lump sum. For example, Ally Lending offers several low-interest or even no-interest installment payment options. You can apply for financing options directly through Ally, or you can ask about financing when visiting your hearing care professional.
5) Make sure your hearing care provider is committed to working with you! You should be aware that it often takes 2-4 visits (in person and/or via online consultations) to get a hearing aid fitting right. Don’t be discouraged if things don’t sound exactly as you had first envisioned. But DO make sure that you can hear well and that you trust the professional working with you and are with you to solve your individual hearing needs. Of course, none of this means your hearing will be perfect. You need realistic expectations, because…
6) Sorry, but you’ll never hear again like you did when you were 17. You have about 12,000 hair cells when you’re born and each time one of them dies from harmful noise, drugs (ototoxins), aging, etc, you’ll never get them back. Hearing aids and sound amplifiers are great and are always improving, but they’re the equivalent of a prosthetic limb: they’re designed to maximize the hearing you have left (one more reason why you should always protect your hearing).
7) The 80/80 rule of tinnitus (ringing ears). Tinnitus (ringing ears) is the evil twin of hearing loss. About 80% of people who have tinnitus have hearing loss; similarly, about 80% of people with hearing loss have some kind of tinnitus. For most people, tinnitus is a minor problem—one they can easily ignore. However, for a relatively smaller population, it can be terribly debilitating. In most cases, hearing aids are the most effective treatment for tinnitus, but there is a wide range of other devices, therapies, and support groups for those with chronically severe or bothersome tinnitus.
8) If you first don’t succeed… (read #1 again!). We’re all different, and it’s common for people with identical hearing losses to experience vastly different hearing problems and challenges. There isn’t always one solution. Hopefully, the above shows that it’s very important to address your hearing loss. If you’ve tried a hearing solution and it didn’t work well, please keep trying—and preferably find a good hearing care professional with a stellar reputation and seek their assistance in finding the proper custom solution for you!