You Need Hearing Aids- Here’s What to do Next – Part 2

By: Kelly Warf, Au.D.

After a new hearing loss diagnosis, patients have many questions. In this second part, I will answer some of the most commonly asked questions.

What happens if I choose to do nothing about my hearing loss?
Studies have linked untreated hearing loss effects to balance problems, social detachment, depression, early onset dementia, and reduced job performance/earning power. Hearing connects us to the world and to one another. Not hearing well triggers a feeling of disconnect and isolation. Social situations that once were fun bring dread and are exhausting. In addition to improving your hearing, we empower you to restore your sense of wholeness and youthfulness.

I don’t think my hearing loss is that bad, do I really need hearing aids?
Early detection and treatment of hearing loss helps you utilize the hearing that you have left as well as improve treatment outcomes. This means incorporating hearing aids into your life earlier rather than later can lead to shorter adjustment time and better speech understanding abilities. We hear with our brain, not our ears. Therefore, hearing aids are good for our brain!

Can I get small hearing aids that are barely visible?
It is not the hearing aids that make one look older, it is what one may believe they imply. If hearing aids help you function like a normal hearing person, for all intents and purposes, the stigma is removed. Hearing aid manufacturers are well aware that cosmetics is an issue to many people, and that’s why today we have hearing aids that fit totally in the ear canal. This CIC style of hearing aid has enough power and special features to satisfy most individuals with hearing impairment. But more importantly, keep in mind that “an untreated hearing loss is more obvious than a hearing aid.” Smiling and nodding your head when you don’t understand what’s being said, makes your condition more apparent than the largest hearing aid. During your Hearing Needs Assessment appointment, you and your audiologist will discuss the best hearing aid style for you.

What’s the difference between hearing devices prescribed by an Audiologist from devices at the store or online?
Hearing is corrected by prescription, just like the fitting of eyeglasses. The final product is specially designed based on individual needs and measurements. If you’ve ever tried on someone else’s glasses, you know exactly what I’m talking about. The process of fitting a hearing aid requires tests and measurements run in real-time on the ear. Further adjustments are made with the input of the user. It can be difficult to explain a concern or need over the phone; being able to demonstrate the problem and solution in person leads to happier and better outcomes.

Products that can be ordered online or taken off the shelf at a local retail store may benefit a mild hearing loss, especially in a quiet environment. But when you turn up the volume, everything gets louder, just like the TV or radio. Louder isn’t always better. Hearing in noise is one of the biggest consumer complaints and that is where an amplifier will prove to be unsatisfactory.

Why are Hearing Aids at Costco cheaper?
While feature comparisons between Costco hearing aids and those purchased in audiology clinics are similar, some of Costco hearing aids may be de-featured. If you struggle in some environments with your Costco hearing aids, the issue may not be with you. It may be that your hearing aids are missing the feature that would best help you in that particular situation.

Costco does employ some audiologists, however you’ll most likely be seen by a hearing aid specialist. Hearing aid specialists have a state license and on-the-job training, not a degree. Working directly with an audiologist, however means you’re trusting your care to a professional with four years or more of postgraduate study. Audiologists are trained to test, diagnose and walk you or your loved one through the best options for your hearing health.

Audiologists are able to offer a more customized hearing aid solutions and personalize the technology for ear shape and individual hearing condition. During follow-up visits, your audiologist will adjust your aids as-needed. Regardless of where you buy them, hearing aids are an investment. It’s important to work with someone you trust who will take time to answer your questions and help you make an educated decision.

If you have any questions or interested in learning more about hearing aids, call our office at 847-685-1000.

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