Millions of Americans of all ages are aware of a gradual decline in hearing or speech understanding. Unfortunately, many of people wait too long to seek help for the following reasons:
Research has consistently revealed the link between hearing loss and negative social, psychological, cognitive and health effects. These effects exceed beyond hearing alone. Individuals living with significant hearing loss can experience unclear and confusing communication, which causes a negative impact on their professional and personal lives. Living with hearing loss leads to the following problems. Here is a list of a few:
Hearing aids are not a 'cure' for hearing loss, but in most cases they can help individuals hear more clearly and improve one's quality of life whether they're 5 or 95 years old.
For many people hearing aids open up a whole new world. You see, many people living with hearing loss wait far too long to seek treatment and often have forgotten what it is like to have normal hearing.
This is why voices and traffic noises may seem very loud when using a hearing aid for the first time. Below is some advice for first time hearing aid users:
- Hearing aids are not like glasses. When you use glasses for the first time, you see the improvement right away, but with hearing aids you have to get used to hearing differently. After all we don't just hear with our ears, we hear with our brain. Years of untreated hearing loss can have detrimental effects on your ability to process speech. In other words, if you don't use it, you lose it.
- Be committed and motivated. You have to want to succeed. You must consistently wear your hearing aid - do not put it away if it irritates you. The more you tell the professional about your experience using hearing aids, the easier it is to meet realistic expectations.
- Buying a hearing aid is not like buying a pair of shoes or a car. It is a process that requires time and patience and it is imperative to use that time effectively so that you can have a good and ongoing dialogue with your audiologist or hearing aid dispenser. For example, tell your audiologist that a certain sound seems as if it is too close to you. The audiologist may then focus the hearing aids more accurately, making them work better.
- Wearing hearing aids for the first time is a psychological process that requires acclimation and realistic expectations. Everyone requires different amounts of time to acclimate to hearing new sounds.
- Speak to people who have worn hearing aids for a while to help draw some perspective. Avoid talking to people who don't wear their hearing aids and certainly don't assume that because they weren't able to optimize their situation that you can't.