A lot of us (all ages) have some hearing loss but we don’t recognize it because the disappearance of sound happens so gradually. Hearing loss, sometimes called “nerve deafness,” is a part of the aging process for many. The facts are: 27 million Americans experience hearing loss but only 2% of us do anything about it – like have our hearing tested and wearing a couple of hearing aids.
There’s the hassle, the cost, the self-perception and the perceptions of others (you’re an old, broken git at 55) that deter many of us from signing on for a simple, and usually free, hearing test at the local audiologist or hearing aid practitioner.
The Office Visit
If you’ve noticed a loss in hearing, chances are you’re at least thinking about seeing a hearing professional so let’s see if we can push you along in that direction.
Hearing is part of living. It’s part of what makes life fun, worthwhile and purposeful. People with hearing loss are often isolated, even from their own family members. And according to a couple of studies, hearing loss often has a negative impact on spousal relationships. One spouse gets tired of shouting and feeling ignored while the other has the TV so loud they can hear it across the street.
Sound familiar? Okay, you need to see an ear pro – either an audiologist or a certified, well-trained hearing aid dispenser to have those ears tested. Using several painless instruments, the hearing professional can determine the type of hearing loss you have and its extent – mild, moderate or severe.
These tests, which produce charts called audiogram as seen in Figure 1, also show the frequencies that create the biggest hearing problems. You may have perfect hearing in lower frequencies while sounds in the upper frequency ranges have disappeared. Do you still hear birds twittering in the trees? Maybe you’ve just forgotten.
Once the extent of hearing loss is calculated, the specialist can recommend a number of hearing aids from discrete, as in completely invisible, to flashy tangerine to show a little attitude. Yeah, you’re still cool.
All of this can be done in a single visit depending on the type of hearing aids you opt for. Some require molds of the ear canal (NP, it doesn’t hurt) but most all of them must be tuned, adjusted and fitted based on the results of your hearing evaluation, lifestyle and listening preferences.
In one case, a woman was fitted with a couple of hearing aids and immediately asked “What that noise was?” It was the sound of rain on the roof – a sound she hadn’t heard in years. Is it worth it? Just ask the lady who heard rain for the first time and didn’t recognize this “new” sound. Yep, it’s worth it.
Now, to motivate you to actually pick up the telephone and call a hearing professional, Healthy Hearing offers a simple, on-line questionnaire that will at least give you an indication of whether it’s time for a real hearing test.
It is simple, free, and totally confidential. It’ll take 10 minutes of your life (if that) – 10 minutes that may change your life forever.
After entering some basic information such as your name, email and location you will next, complete a simple profile indicating what type of information you’re interested in -from getting a hearing aid, to issues with your current hearing aids. This whole process takes about five minutes.
Next are a few important questions about your lifestyle, hearing preferences, problem areas – nothing to strain the brain. The objective, here, is to determine if a hearing problem exists. For example, if you have difficulty hearing in certain listening environments (crowded restaurants or the movies) that would indicate some hearing issue that could be addressed, often quite simply.
The online questionnaire’s objective is not to replace a hearing test but instead to alert you to hearing issues that you perhaps did not think of as potentially being a “hearing loss”. The questionnaire simply will let know whether it’s time to visit a hearing professional for a more detailed hearing evaluation.
But Wait, It Gets Even Easier
|You are one click away from better hearing|
So, okay, you complete your personal profile and answer the questions and discover, much to your surprise, that you may have some hearing loss based on your answers. Not what you were hoping for but now what?
Healthy Hearing provides a list of hearing professionals in your area. Come on, how easy is that? Name, address, telephone number – it’s all there, making it easy to make an appointment with a local hearing professional.
Next you will receive via email comprehensive consumer guides educating you on everything and anything that has to do with hearing loss, hearing aids and cochlear implants.
You will also receive a funding guide to hearing aids and cochlear implants – which provides a comprehensive list of funding resources across the entire United States. These funding resources are typically for persons who can not financially afford to purchase hearing aids and/or cochlear implants.
Hearing loss is one of the leading health issues in the United States today, it is also one many persons choose not to treat. And yet, it is so treatable and research supports the positive benefits of treating hearing loss with hearing aids.
If you have suspected you may have hearing loss this is the time. If you have been turning the radio or TV up higher than normal, this is the time.
If you have found yourself saying “what?” often, this is the time.
Visit Healthy Hearing and answer a few questions to determine if you have a potential hearing problem. Then receive a wealth of information that will begin your journey in becoming an educated patient and hearing aid consumer.
This is the time. It could be the click that changes your life forever!
To learn more visit Healthy Hearing’s Consumer Guides to Hearing loss and Hearing Aids.