December 7, 2020
Rex Banks, Au.D., Reg. CASLPO | Doctor of Audiology
Director, Hearing Healthcare
In preparing to get hearing aids, people often ask themselves the following questions:
- Am I ready to get a hearing aid?
- What kind of hearing aid should I get?
- Who should I get it from?
These seemingly straightforward questions are also the answers as to how successful a person will be with their hearing aids. I like to call these the 1,2,3’s of hearing aids. How successful you’ll be with your hearing aids comes down to:
- Your hearing aids
- Your hearing healthcare provider
Put simply, this part is all about you! Everyone has their own unique journey when it comes to their hearing health. The first step of the journey is to acknowledge that a hearing loss is even present. Sounds easy? According to a study Canadian Hearing Services conducted with Statistics Canada, an astounding 77% of Canadians between the ages of 40 and 79 who had hearing loss didn’t even know it! Some of the reasons for this could be their hearing loss was mild so they didn’t notice it; they adapted to it; lack of any triggers that might make them aware of it; denial or it wasn’t on their radar to consider because of age or feeling positive about their overall health.
Becoming aware of hearing loss is the first step. Next is the road to acceptance, which can be really challenging. Hearing loss is a loss for many; they grieve it. During that process, it’s common to go through a range of emotions such as anger and depression before landing on acceptance. After acceptance, there needs to be motivation to do something about it and realistic expectations about the benefits and limitations of hearing aids. Overall attitude, use of effective communication strategies and self-advocacy are also part of the recipe for hearing aid success.
There are some things about “you” that you may not have much control of over such as your degree of hearing loss, dexterity, memory and other health concerns in addition to hearing loss. When it comes to your hearing loss, there are things you can control and things you can’t – but nonetheless, they are all part of you.
2. Your Hearing Aids
Let me say right away that hearing aids are an imperfect solution to a complicated problem. While only about a third of people with hearing loss get hearing aids, 90% can be helped by them. Hearing aids sometimes get a bad rap, but research suggests the majority of people who use hearing aids are satisfied with them.
Buying a hearing aid can be a daunting process for most people. Sorting through all the ads and information can be overwhelming. Matching your current lifestyle, future needs and hearing loss to the hearing aid’s style, features, technology level, ability to reduce noise and so forth, as well as cost are all part of the process. I often compare buying a hearing aid to a camera. All cameras will take a picture. All hearing aids will make sound louder. Some cameras have lots of features to adjust the picture and can zoom-in on the image while hearing aids can also have many features and focus-in on certain types of sounds. Both cameras and hearing aids come in different sizes, technology levels and costs. At the end of the day, your audiologist will help you choose, but it is ultimately your decision. Whatever type of hearing aid you get – it is recommended you learn to use it; wear it; take care of it; and make the most of it.
3. Your Hearing Healthcare Provider
Audiologists and hearing instrument specialists want to help improve your communication. Don’t be shy to ask about qualifications, training and experience. Like many things in life, it’s also about the relationship. They should be a good listener, let you ask plenty of questions, want to understand your communication goals and have solutions for them.
They are your “go to” person on all things related to hearing. Remember, you’re receiving healthcare - your appointment should feel that way, and not like a sales pitch. Empathy, compassion, attention to detail, flexibility and open communication in giving you a say in your care are all signs that you have found a provider you can trust and someone who will be there for you every step of the way while on your journey to better hearing.
Let CHS help you with your 1,2,3’s of successful hearing aid use. Make an appointment with us today!
Reference: Ramage-Morin, Pamela & Banks, Rex & Pineault, Dany & Atrach, Maha. (2019). Unperceived hearing loss among Canadians aged 40 to 79. Health reports. 30. 11-20. Retrieved from: https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/82-003-x/2019008/article/00002-eng.htm