Did you know that nearly 50 million Americans have at least some hearing loss in one or both ears? Experts now say that between 2000 and 2015, the number of Americans with hearing loss doubled! It’s safe to say that you or someone you know has hearing loss and a hearing aid may be the best choice to treat that hearing loss.
But what does the process of selecting and using a hearing aid look like?
Uncovering hearing loss
If that someone with hearing loss is you, you may be considering how to treat it. The first step is a hearing evaluation to determine your level of hearing loss and talk treatment options.
During a hearing evaluation, your hearing health care provider will take a detailed history, examine the ear, and then go through a series of tests. You’ll learn:
- If there is a hearing loss and to what degree – You may not even realize that you have lost some of your hearing until you go through a hearing evaluation. With early identification and treatment, further loss and related health issues can be minimized or avoided.
- The cause of the hearing loss – Your hearing healthcare provider may be able to identify a reason for your hearing loss such as earwax build-up, an underlying health condition or noise-induced hearing loss.
- Options to treat the hearing loss – One of the most important things you’ll learn at a professional hearing evaluation is treatment options. In many cases, treatment may include a hearing aid.
Choosing the best hearing aid for you
After completing your hearing evaluation, you’ll work with your hearing health care professional to select the best hearing aid for you and your lifestyle. Discussing your needs and expectations with your hearing healthcare provider can help narrow down a perfect fit. Talk about the environments you spend a lot of time in. Are they noisy? Talk about additional functionality you’ll need from the hearing aid such as a tinnitus blocker or wireless connectivity. Go over the nuts and bolts such as styles of devices and battery usage.
These conversations can help you get started on the right foot with your new hearing aid.
Getting acclimated to hearing aids
Once you have purchased a hearing aid to help treat your hearing loss, there are three main things to remember:
- Wearing it every day makes all the difference – It can be tempting only to use your hearing aids when you think you might need them, but the more you use them, the more comfortable and natural they’ll become.
- It will make a difference immediately, but you’ll still need time to acclimate – From day one, you’ll realize just how much sound you were missing. That doesn’t mean you’ll have natural hearing again and that doesn’t mean it will all be smooth sailing from the moment you pop those new hearing aids in. Your hearing healthcare provider may recommend various listening activities to help you adjust to this new way of hearing. These may include reading a book out loud, using an auditory training program or even watching television with closed captioning.
- Adjustments may be needed to fine-tune for comfort and function – If your hearing aid isn’t fitting comfortably or it doesn’t seem to be working the way you expected or need it to, contact your hearing healthcare provider. They can make adjustments or, if needed, go over other hearing aid options.
Don’t let another day go by missing the sounds around you, the conversations and things you love. Scheduling a hearing evaluation and treating hearing loss with hearing aids can make all the difference. Don’t believe us? Check out this story about one man’s journey with hearing loss and hearing aids and the incredible impact they had on his life in just the first two days.