In the two decades that we have been distributing hearing aids, we have seen major changes in the field. Technological advancements have made a world of difference for our patients, who have an easier time than ever adjusting to their hearing aids and hearing the sounds they love in the world around them. But we tend to encounter the same concerns, questions, and misconceptions among our patients who are considering hearing aids or learning more about hearing loss.
Q. How will I know if I need a hearing aid?
A. It can sometimes be hard to admit to yourself that you might be losing your hearing, but there are certain signs you'll probably notice if you look. Ask yourself:
If you find yourself answering yes to any of these questions, you may benefit from a hearing test.
Q. What can I do if someone I love seems to have a hearing loss but refuses to get it treated?
A. The worst thing you can do is be forceful and tell them they need to get hearing aids. Instead, try to bring awareness to them. Ask if they've noticed that the TV has been louder lately, or point out that when you've tried talking with them recently, they seem to have trouble hearing you. Gently draw their attention to some of their challenges. Once they recognize that there is a problem, that's when you call us and make an appointment to bring them in.
Tell them we won't force them to do anything — don't talk about getting hearing aids. Just let them know that we can complete an assessment to understand their hearing loss, and then we can talk to them about what their options are. Leave it to us to help determine if they're ready or not. Sometimes we have to lay the groundwork early and then six months later they'll be ready. Be patient, be gentle, and be kind.
MYTH: Everyone will notice that I'm wearing hearing aids.
TRUTH: Even though this is the most common stigma we come across with our patients, it's simply not true. No one is looking inside your ears; even though you may feel self-conscious, other people are probably not looking that closely at you. And even if they do notice, they're not going to judge you for it. If anything, they'll be glad they can have an easy and comfortable conversation because you can hear them clearly. We joke that someone would have to almost have their nose in your hair to notice you're wearing aid.
MYTH: Wearing hearing aids means I'm getting old.
TRUTH: Hearing loss occurs at all ages, so having hearing loss says nothing about how old you are. Treating hearing loss is one of the best ways to stay young because you'll be comfortable communicating with other people and staying active doing the things you love. It's not the hearing aids that can make you look old, it's saying "what?" all the time. If hearing aids will help you, go ahead and get them and get on with your life.
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