As a hearing care provider with AccuQuest Hearing Centers, the largest hearing health private practice in the nation, I see many patients. Of all the questions I get, three stand out as some of the most common and important to understand:
1) What are the symptoms of Hearing Loss?
While the causes, types, and degrees of hearing loss vary, the symptoms are essentially the same. People with hearing loss typically answer “yes” to questions like:
Do I hear, but have a difficult time understanding?
Do I frequently have to ask people to repeat themselves?
Do I have difficulty understanding conversations in restaurants and meetings?
Do I have to turn up the volume when watching TV?
2) How do I identify my hearing loss?
First, make an appointment for a hearing evaluation with a trusted hearing care provider as soon as possible. That visit should include a video otoscope exam to view the inside of your ear, a sound booth test where an audiometer will play tones at different volume and pitch levels, and a speech discrimination test to determine how accurately you hear and interpret specific speech sounds. After the screening, your hearing care provider will know what level of assistance you need and whether or not hearing aids will benefit you.
Once it is determined hearing aids will help, and you know which sounds you’re missing, your hearing care provider can begin programming your hearing aids to your personalized needs. A successful hearing aid fitting should be a dynamic, patient-centered process.
3) What can I expect from my hearing aids?
It’s important to have realistic expectations about your hearing aids. First of all, with the exception of really mild loss, hearing cannot be restored to 100%—no matter how sophisticated the technology. That being said, today’s hearing aids can dramatically improve your hearing and enrich your quality of life.
Secondly, there will be an adjustment period with your hearing aids. It’s a new way of hearing the world, and you may hear sounds you haven’t heard in years. To ensure a smooth adjustment period, be sure to follow the instructions from your provider, and wear your hearing aids as much as possible. Your brain will need to practice.
Lastly, expect a noticeable benefit. With well-fitted hearing aids, you should notice a difference in your quality of life as you are once again connected with friends and family. If you are not satisfied with the performance of your aids, talk with your hearing care provider and work with him or her to adjust the aids to fit your lifestyle needs.
These are answers to just a few of the important questions I hear in my office. If you have other questions about hearing loss, hearing aids, or hearing in general please feel free to contact me at (888) 711-1420.
Yours for better hearing, John Schellman, H.A.D.