Tips for Adjusting to New Hearing Aids

Tips for Adjusting to New Hearing Aids

Tips for Adjusting to New Hearing Aids

Hearing loss often happens slowly over long periods of time, so it can be difficult to track in the moment. It is possible to look back for signs, however: when you began turning up the volume on the television and radio, when you began asking friends and family to repeat themselves, et cetera. Most people wait an average of 7 years before getting a hearing aid and forget what it is like to have normal hearing.

Adjusting to new hearing aids is less like wearing glasses to correct your vision and more like learning how to hear again. A hearing aid will help you hear differently and your hearing health care professional will help along the way.

Fitting

After having your hearing tested by an audiologist, or other hearing health specialist, they will thoroughly diagnose your results and discuss them with you. They will explain each ear’s hearing ability and recommended next steps, and being fitted for a hearing aid is a common recommendation.

When you have a fitting appointment with your hearing health care professional, they will fit you with a hearing aid based on your specific needs. Before selecting a hearing aid that might best suit you, your doctor will ask you questions about your lifestyle and you should answer with as much detail as possible.

Do you live in a quiet environment or in a home with a big family? Some people have trouble hearing high pitched sounds of women and children, so this information would be essential to ensuring your hearing aid is tuned to recognize those tones and pitches. If you are employed, do you work in a cubicle or in a busy restaurant? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about 25 percent of hearing loss in America is job related, so this information is helpful for your doctor.

When booking your appointment, it is a good idea to clear your day so that you are not feeling rushed to leave the office. There is a lot of information to go over and you want to ensure that you have time to ask any questions you may have.

Your hearing aid will be physically fitted to sit comfortably around or in your ear and your doctor will also test that the device’s settings are programmed correctly. You will receive instructions on how to operate and care for your new hearing aid. The information may be a bit overwhelming, but your doctor is there to address any questions you have and take the time to help you understand, during and beyond the appointment.

Some Best Practices

Be patient as you are getting used to your new hearing aid. You will be experiencing the physical feel of wearing one or two devices on your ears and also beginning to hear differently. It may take some time to get to a place where you are hearing comfortably, but it is important to be consistent in wearing your hearing aids.

It is important to keep wearing your hearing aids, even when they might be irritating or functionally frustrating. Remember, you are also re-training your brain to listen again and consistency is key. You will also be in regular communication with your audiologist during the fitting process and you have to inform them about how the device is working. This will allow them to fit the hearing aids more accurately, in turn making them work better for you.

You should also be keenly aware of your hearing in different environments and circumstances as you retrain your ears and brain to hear. When some sounds appear closer than they are or if you have trouble hearing certain frequencies, these are all things can your audiologist or hearing specialist can likely tune during a follow-up fitting appointment.

Conclusion

As you become comfortable with your new hearing aids, know that you are not alone in your journey. Your hearing health care professional is available to answer any questions you may have. They can also give you information about aural rehabilitation, a support system in place to help you in your transition to better hearing. The rehabilitation can be done on a home computer in person in a group setting. It can be a great way to meet and talk to other people living with hearing loss and share experiences.

Selecting the Right Hearing Aid

Selecting the Right Hearing Aid

Selecting the Right Hearing Aid

It can be hard to accept that your hearing abilities have changed, and it can be even more difficult still to figure out next steps. It is a lifestyle shift that you have to make, but you do not have to do so alone. There are a wide range of options for hearing aids and hearing assisted devices as well as hearing health care professionals to help you sort through it all.

The Internet is a great resource, too. Try not to be overwhelmed, there is a lot of information out there. This article aims to help you navigate to some landmarks in your journey to better hearing health!

Bring a Friend or Loved One

Ask a friend or family member to join you, if you have not done so already, as you take steps to better your hearing health. Their support can be comforting as you take steps into this new chapter of your life and they can help ask questions during a visit to an audiologist or hearing specialist’s office. Retired audiologist Juliette Sterkens from Wisconsin wisely offers, “Two people hear and remember more.”

A companion can offer support beyond simply visiting the hearing health professional’s office. You can plan to take a hearing test together online and in the comfort of your home if you are feeling anxious. Having a friend or relative with you is also a reminder that hearing loss extends beyond yourself. The positive effects benefit you and also your loved ones.

Take a Hearing Test

If you want to get an idea of where your hearing is before you visit your hearing health care professional, you can find simple hearing tests online. They play a series of tones and different pitches to measure your hearing and can determine if you need to visit a professional. An audiologist can administer an examination and provide thorough details about your results. They will also discuss treatment afterward to best suits your needs. Hearing aids are often a recommendation.

Your hearing health professional will ask you about your lifestyle and hobbies during the exam and use this information to get you the hearing aid that is right for you. Do you live with a large family or live alone in a quieter setting? Do you spend a lot of time outdoors? Do you primarily want to be able to hear the television or radio better? All of these details help to ensure you get a proper hearing aid fitting.

Ask to Try Out Your Hearing Aids

It is possible that several hearing aids fit your needs and a sure-fire way to know which is best for you is to ask your hearing health professional for a demonstration or a “test drive.” It could be possible for them to fit a disposable attachment to the hearing aid and program it to your hearing loss to give you an accurate idea of how it works.

You can also ask to have an automated “real ear” test to see how the aid works in your ear. You should not leave the office without checking that your hearing aid fits. It should fit physically, of course, but it should also fit your lifestyle according to the guidelines you discussed with your hearing health professional.

Take your time to make an informed decision. Hearing aids are a significant investment and can be a costly one. It’s not a decision you want to make hastily. In the market today, a single aid can range from $1,600 up to $3,000 and are often not covered by Medicare or private insurance. A survey from Consumer Reports in 2014 states that there is an average retail markup of about 117 percent, so there can be room for bargaining.

Advances in technology provides us with an abundance of choice, and there are as many add-ons from which to choose, too. Think about your specific hearing loss and the needs you want your hearing aid to meet. Many hearing aids are equipped with Bluetooth technology, allowing you to connect your hearing aid to a smartphone or smart tv. Some filter out noise in a crowded room, or help with phone conversations with a tele-coil. However, if you don’t need those advanced features you could save yourself a lot of money.

Let Your Brain Help You Hear

Many people may not think of the brain’s involvement in the hearing process, but it plays a large part in processing sound and also speech production and recognition. “You don’t hear with your ear, you hear with your brain, and your brain doesn’t know what to do with the sound after you get your hearing aids,” says audiologist Barry Freeman of Zpower, based in Camarillo, CA. Check with your provider about aural rehabilitation and how it can help. There are auditory trainings that can be done in group sessions or at home on a personal computer.

Absolute Hearing Care Centers

If you’re looking for comprehensive hearing health care, look no further than Absolute Hearing Care Centers. We provide a full slate of hearing health services and we look forward to helping you hear at your best. Contact us today to learn more!

Proper Preparation for a Hearing Aid Fitting

Proper Preparation for a Hearing Aid Fitting

Proper Preparation for a Hearing Aid Fitting

It is common for some degree of hearing loss to occur as you age. In fact, presbycusis is one of the most common causes of hearing loss. Therefore, you must tend to your hearing health just as you tend to your overall health in your senior years.

Millions of Americans are living with some degree of hearing loss, approximately 48 million according to an estimate from the Hearing Loss Association of America. It is the third most common chronic physical condition in the U.S., more prevalent than diabetes or cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Taking care of your hearing health is a process that you do not have to go through alone. Loved ones and your hearing health care professional can help you along the way when you are in need. Reaching out for support as you re-learn the functions of hearing, and the accompanying equipment, is a great way to set yourself up for success.

After taking a hearing test, your hearing health professional will discuss your results with you and schedule a hearing aid fitting. Many people may not realize that these are separate appointments that need their own time because lots of information is covered in each. The hearing aid fitting appointment may happen over multiple visits to ensure that the hearing aid is comfortable and suited to your needs.

The Fitting Appointment

During your fitting appointment with your hearing health professional, they will fit you with a hearing aid based on your specific needs. Your hearing health professional will ask you questions about your lifestyle before selecting a hearing aid that might best suit you and you should answer with as much detail as possible.

Some questions may include: Do you live a relatively quiet lifestyle or in a home with a big family? Some people have trouble hearing high pitched sounds of women and children, so this information would be essential to ensuring your hearing aid hears those tones and pitches. If you are employed, do you work in a cubicle or on a construction site? The CDC estimates that about 25 percent of hearing loss in America is job related, so your hearing health professional needs this information.

Your hearing health professional will ensure that the physical fit of the hearing aid is comfortable around or in your ear and that the device is programmed correctly. They will provide information on how to use and care for your new hearing aid, too. This is an opportunity where having a friend or family member with you could benefit you; they could be a second pair of ears to receive information and sort through it later with you.

Take the following steps to ensure a successful hearing aid fitting:

  • Clear your calendar

Your appointment is much more than picking up your new hearing aids. It is a course in operation and care that takes time. It is best not to rush out of your hearing health professional’s office and miss out on any vital information so it is best to clear your schedule for the day of your fitting.

  • Bring a friend

Ask a friend, relative, or someone in your support system to join you at your fitting appointment. The journey to better hearing health has been a long one and it will be nice to hear a familiar voice as you begin to hear more normally again. Your companion can also help to remember some of the instruction and information your hearing health professional gives you.

  • Take Notes

Taking notes should certainly happen during the appointment, but this step can also begin beforehand. When questions come up about the hearing aid, the impact on your lifestyle, or care and maintenance, write them down so you can have the hearing health professional address them. You should also take notes during conversation and encourage your companion to do the same. Afterward, the two of you can share and compare notes for anything that may have been missed.

Absolute Hearing Care Centers

It can be difficult admitting that you need help treating disabling hearing loss. The stigma associated with hearing loss and hearing aids—ageism, self-perception, vanity, to name a few—can be a huge barrier to seeking treatment. Once you are able to meet or overcome those barriers, however, you will notice an abundance of help and resources available to you.

A first, important step is scheduling a hearing exam with a hearing health professional at Absolute Hearing Care Centers for a thorough diagnosis. Our team will discuss your results with you and then schedule a hearing aid fitting. Being prepared before and knowing what to expect during the fitting appointment will serve you well in familiarizing yourself with a new hearing aid.

Your path to better hearing health is a continuous journey that you need not navigate alone. Take advantage of the wealth of information your hearing health care professional can provide and stay informed. The groundwork may be laid during the fitting, but just as your lifestyle may change over time, the function and fit of you hearing aid can also change to serve your hearing health needs.

Encouraging a Loved One to Take a Hearing Test

Encouraging a Loved One to Take a Hearing Test

Encouraging a Loved One to Take a Hearing Test

Clear and open communication is an important part of the relationships we have with loved ones. When someone is living with undiagnosed or untreated hearing loss, it can weigh heavily on social interaction and cause tension and frustration. It may also be difficult to know that hearing loss is to blame. We may mistakenly assume that our loved one is just not listening or uninterested in our conversation.

Asking a few questions can help identify the signs of potential hearing loss. Does your loved one constantly ask people to repeat themselves? Do they listen to the television or radio at extremely high volumes? Do they seem isolated during social gatherings? These could be indicators of hearing loss and should not be ignored.

If you think a friend or relative could be living with hearing loss, you might want to offer help, but keep in mind that it may be a difficult conversation to have because of age-related stereotypes and shame surrounding hearing loss. On the contrary, with over 48 million American living with disabling hearing loss, it is the third most common medical condition of adults 18 and over.

It’s important to treat hearing loss as soon as possible. If you believe that someone you know needs to have their hearing checked, below are some tips to be supportive and encourage them to see a hearing health care professional.

Use Online Research Tools

Before making the trip to a specialist, access the many online tools available regrading hearing loss. There are many studies available that show the detriment to the other areas of life affected by untreated hearing loss: family, career, social life, and mental and physical health. Studies from Johns Hopkins have shown that cognitive abilities are adversely affected and an increased risk for developing dementia are results of untreated hearing loss. More studies still demonstrate the lower wages earned in the workplace and a higher risk for accidents, falls, and hospitalization.

Knowing about some of the complexities associated with hearing loss and having information at the ready are great ways to begin a conversation with a friend or family member.

The Right Time

Hearing loss can be often accompanied by speech recognition impairment. This is one of the ways untreated hearing loss affects communication. Choose a quiet, well-lit environment, as opposed to a crowded cafe or bustling restaurant. Those environments are not conducive to your loved one hearing well.

While you’re talking, sit facing your loved one in case they need to read your lips. Think about small ways in which you can accommodate their hearing loss. It goes a long way toward effective communication and relieves any anxiety they may have about asking for those accommodations themselves.

Listen

The other part of your job is to listen. Listen without interrupting and support them as they share their experience, which might be emotional, difficult, or frightening for them. Ask open-ended questions give them space to share how they have been adjusting to this change.

Encourage Them to Get Their Hearing Tested

A feeling of isolation can often accompany hearing loss. Your loved one will greatly appreciate your support during their journey to better hearing health.

First, schedule an appointment for a hearing test. A hearing test will provide your loved one thorough information on their hearing abilities and determine if a hearing loss exists. There are many online outlets available to find a hearing health professional near you. Many of these sites also have tests your loved ones can administer themselves before making an appointment. A trained professional is the only way to get an official examination of each ear’s hearing ability. At Absolute Hearing Care Center, we can provide a thorough diagnosis of your results. Afterwards, we can recommend the next steps that will best suit your needs. Hearing aids and cochlear implants are common recommendations.

Show your continued support by volunteering to take the online hearing test with your loved one and accompany them to their appointment. Your very presence could ease any anxiety about visiting a hearing professional, being examined, and receiving results. It may even boost their confidence enough to ask questions and build a trusting relationship with their hearing health care professional.

Benefits of Hearing Loss Treatment

Benefits of Hearing Loss Treatment

Benefits of Hearing Loss Treatment

Care you considering hearing aids but are not sure if they are right for you? You are not alone. Hearing loss is a health condition that affects approximately 48 million Americans, according to Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), and is the third most common health condition behind arthritis and heart disease.

Stereotypes lead many to believe that seniors are the only population affected by hearing loss. However, nearly a fifth of all Americans aged 12 and older have a hearing loss severe enough to negatively affect communication, according to a study by Johns Hopkins published in The Archives of Internal Medicine in 2011. It is estimated that Americans living with hearing loss outnumber those living with Parkinson’s, Epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, and Diabetes combined. Yet, experts also estimate that only about 20 percent of people who could benefit from wearing hearing aids actually wear them.

There are many proven benefits of wearing hearing aids, including improved communication and comprehension, decreased listening effort, and staying connected to friends and family. These are just a few of the many advantages of wearing hearing aids. If you are still unsure if they are for you, here are five benefits of treating disabling hearing loss with hearing aids:

  • Better Salary at Work

A study by the Better Hearing Institute has found that people with untreated hearing loss can earn as much as $30,000 less than their counterparts with normal hearing. It also found that particular risk lessened by more than 90 percent when people with mild hearing loss wore hearing aids, and almost 77 percent for individuals with moderate-to-severe hearing loss. Along with the benefits to your overall health, it is always in your best interest to perform at your best in your place of work to ensure continued success.

  • Slow Cognitive Decline

Many studies have linked untreated hearing loss to an increased risk of developing dementia and mental fatigue and cognitive decline. Ongoing studies continue to show the correlation between untreated hearing loss and the absence of hearing aids. Hearing loss, when left untreated, can accelerate atrophy in the auditory nerve system of the brain, where speech and comprehension occur, according to a study by the University of Pennsylvania.

However, researchers have found that hearing aids not only slow atrophy, but also improve your ability to hear and your brain’s ability to convert sounds into information. This promising area of research supports that combating disabling hearing loss with hearing aids could indeed slow cognitive decline.

Satisfaction with Hearing Aid’s Performance of

A study by the Better Hearing Institute, a non-profit, showed that over 91 percent of people who bought a hearing aid last year were satisfied with their purchase. Almost 90 percent of people who currently wear hearing aids would recommend them to a friend with hearing loss.

Quality of Life

It has been found that people who wear hearing aids to treat their hearing loss have a better quality of life than those who leave their hearing loss untreated. Communicating with family and friends is easier and more productive than otherwise asking them to repeat something, mis-hearing a word or phrase, or becoming frustrated by your hearing loss.

Maintaining social activity is also important to a healthy quality of life. Avoiding social isolation lowers the risk of depression, cognitive decline, and even dementia and Alzheimer’s. Being in touch with your loved ones, on the phone or in person, helps to promote healthy brain activity and sharpen communication skills.

The brain plays a vital role in our hearing ability and is integral to comprehension and speech, too. The inner ear has hair cells that are responsible for converting the noise gathered by the outer ear into electrical signals, which travel along an auditory nerve to the brain. Every one of the hair cells is responsible for converting a pitch or frequency. They are also irreparable if they become damaged or die, so the brain must work harder to process information it is receiving due to the loss of that function. Hearing aids can prevent the mental fatigue that comes with untreated hearing loss.

Absolute Hearing Care Center

If you would like to know more about the many benefits of treating hearing loss, reach out to us at Absolute Hearing Care Center. We can provide you with helpful information, test your hearing, explain the results, and fit you for a hearing aid.