Perhaps the single most important goal when considering the use of a hearing aid is to improve personal communication with friends, family and others yet maintain independence and freedom to make choices in a world of fast-paced communication. For people with hearing loss, a hearing aid frequently helps to achieve this goal. There are three important things to understand about hearing aids.
- Hearing aids do not repair a hearing loss. Hearing aids are fitted to patients for a variety of reasons. The most common reason is to help them hear speech in order to effectively communicate. The hearing loss is generally sensorineural (permanent hearing loss), and the hearing aid is adjusted mechanically and electronically to help compensate for parts of the ear and central nervous system that are permanently damaged.
- A hearing aid is a guest in the ear. Hearing aids work well when they are fitted comfortably to a person’s ear. Patients that are first fitted with a hearing aid generally experience some level of tenderness in the ear. The level of tenderness may be as simple as adjusting to a new pair of shoes, or it may be an irritation that requires an hearing healthcare provider to make adjustments for the hearing aid to feel and sound as natural as possible.
- Hearing aids require guided practice, patience and persistence. Adjusting to everyday sounds is challenging and takes practice (e.g., birds, dishes and silverware making contact, doors opening and closing, computer keyboard noise). As noise is added from different sources (restaurants, malls, busy streets, crowds, etc.) to a quiet listening condition, the listener may begin to experience problems.
Patience and realistic expectations now become a key ingredient to begin a successful hearing aid user. Because people have different degrees of hearing loss and have had hearing loss for different periods of time, listening problems vary dramatically in magnitude and type among people. A patient that expects a hearing aid to being normal or near normal hearing in all listening environments is a patient that is likely to be disappointed. A realistic patient will have an understanding of the need for guided practice and patience in using the hearing aid and will be persistent in discovering where and when the hearing aid is (and is not) most helpful. A realistic patient will als be a wise, successful and satisfied patient.
Partnering for Success – A hearing aid that is fitted properly and used successfully should create a communication environment were most other people do not realize that the listener is wearing a hearing aid. Working with your hearing healthcare provider is the best way to ensure that a hearing aid will serve the patient well.
For more information on how hearing aids can benefit you, call The Hearing Professionals today.