Top five ways hearing aids make you look good
According to the Hearing Health Foundation, nearly 50 million Americans experience hearing loss, yet only one in every five people who would benefit from wearing a hearing aid actually wears one. Why? While some cite financial reasons or don’t believe they have a hearing problem, there are those who are concerned wearing hearing aids will make them appear weak or look old.
We disagree. In fact, here are five of the top reasons we believe wearing hearing aids makes you look good.
You have more energy to do the things you love
You might find it hard to believe that hearing aids can give you more energy, until you realize there is such a thing as hearing loss exhaustion. This occurs as the result of the extra mental energy your brain expends to keep up with conversations at work or school. While people with normal hearing can multi-task — look up information on their smartphone or watch a television program and respond to verbal cues in a conversation — people with hearing loss must use that energy to concentrate on lip reading and deciphering verbal cues and gestures. Hearing loss can cause emotional exhaustion, too, leading to increased levels of stress, anxiety and depression.
The good news? If a hearing healthcare professional diagnoses you with sensorineural hearing loss and prescribes hearing devices as treatment, they can alleviate this problem. Even though hearing devices won’t restore your hearing to normal, they amplify sound, making it easier for your brain to process them. And when your brain isn’t working so hard to understand what its hearing, it gives you more energy to spend on the things you love to do.
You can be part of the conversation
There’s nothing more frustrating than not being able to hear the conversation during family gatherings or in social situations. It’s equally as frustrating for those who are trying to communicate with their friends and loved ones who are hard of hearing. The solution? Get your hearing tested by a hearing healthcare professional and seek treatment immediately if they prescribe hearing devices. Forget what you heard from relatives or friends who purchased hearing aids ten years ago. Not only are today’s hearing aids more comfortable to wear, they are also better able to distinguish speech from background noise. Talk to your hearing healthcare professional. Tell them your hearing expectations and what types of activities you participate in on a daily basis. Ask if your hearing center offers a trial period so you can test your hearing aids in different listening environments so you can choose the hearing device that works best for your lifestyle.
Not only will you be able to participate in conversation easier, you’ll most likely enjoy life more, too. Studies conducted with individuals with hearing loss indicate those who wear hearing aids report a higher satisfaction of quality of life, specifically improved communication in relationship communication, intimacy and warmth of family relationships, emotional stability, a sense of control over life events and perception of mental and physical health.
You can pretend you’re a super hero
C’mon. Who didn’t think Lee Majors was sexy as the Million Dollar Man? With today’s hearing aid technology, almost anyone can pretend they have bionic hearing. If you haven’t seen a hearing healthcare professional lately, you may not know that hearing aids have changed a lot over the last 10 years. Depending on the type of hearing loss you have, you may be able to wear a hearing device that is virtually invisible.
If you’re more of a James Bond wanna-be, think of your hearing healthcare professional as your own personal Q. They can help you select a Bluetooth-compatible hearing device to work with your favorite personal electronic devices, such as smartphones, computers and MP3 players.
You look fashionable
Depending on the type of hearing loss you have, you may not be a candidate for one of the invisible hearing aids. No worries — there are plenty of ways to incorporate other models into your own fashion style.
- Be colorful. Most manufacturers make hearing aids in a variety of colors for both children and adults — with accessories to match. Choose your favorite color and, if you need additional "bling," customize them with your choice of stickers and sparkly accents.
- Accessorize. Thanks to a variety of online manufacturers, you can accessorize hearing aids according to your own personal style. Does your child like animals? Invest in an assortment of sea animal clips to keep their hearing aids securely in place. Do you follow a professional sports team? Choose colors and logos to show your team spirit.
You’re a role model for good health
Untreated hearing loss can lead to a variety of other health-related problems or be an indicator of other serious medical issues such as:
- Alzheimer’s and dementia. According to the Hearing Health Foundation, those with even mild hearing loss are twice as likely to develop dementia. This risk increases with the severity of hearing loss.
- Depression, anxiety and stress. Researchers from the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) have found a strong relationship between hearing loss and depression.
- Brain atrophy. Researchers from Johns Hopkins and the National Institute on Aging found brains of older individuals with untreated hearing loss shrink faster.
- Increased risk for falls. Because the ear plays a role in balance, hearing loss can lead to an increased risk for falls. Studies suggest even mild hearing loss can triple your risk.
That’s why it’s important to have your hearing tested — especially if you suspect you have hearing loss — and to seek treatment immediately if you’re diagnosed with hearing loss. Remember, you’re never too young or too old to be a role model, especially as it relates to good health. When friends and family members see your proactive approach to hearing loss, they will be more likely to address the situation quickly when they experience it themselves.