If You Think You Have a Hearing Problem, You Probably Do

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You’re 56 years old and still working,

but not enjoying it like you used to. Is it because you have done it for 35 years, or is it because you have to work a lot harder at it than you used to? Before you decide to retire sooner than you are financially ready or be miserable at work and make the family you come home to equally miserable after you’ve spent a day at the office – consider having your hearing evaluated.

A hearing evaluation, when done by an audiologist, is professional, thorough, diagnostic and pain-free. If the results indicate hearing loss, then acknowledge the reality. The next step is acceptance, which may not be easy, but the condition cannot be managed if it is denied.

What does managing a hearing loss mean?

Once the evaluation concludes that the hearing loss is not caused by a medical problem, hearing instruments are the next step. The audiologist aids in deciding what is best and discusses good communication strategies, realistic expectations and being your own advocate.

Why do people delay?

April-Health-Fitness Stigma, money, belief that one’s hearing is not “bad enough” or technology misconceptions are all excuses that keep people from making what may be one of the best decisions they have ever made. The reality is that wearing an instrument does not make someone look as old as constantly saying “what?” or poking one’s neck out to turn an ear forward.

Also, the need for hearing instruments depends on lifestyle, occupation, even personality. Technology is still evolving. The goal with today’s technology is to bring in sound that is as comfortable and as natural as possible. The amplification that is sent to the brain helps to organize, select and follow more of what you want to hear. It is true that hearing instruments are not perfect and cannot replace normal ears, but the benefits far outweigh the negatives.

What are the benefits to wearing hearing aids?

Improved quality of life – this means feeling more confident in communication and less fatigued because effort isn’t wasted on straining to hear. Better hearing usually translates into better relationships with family and friends. Research has shown that people with untreated hearing loss earn lower income. Some of the more recent research has linked hearing loss with risk of dementia, suggesting the greater the hearing loss, the higher the risk of cognitive decline. A study by a French researcher, Helene Amieve, was conducted over a 25-year period with 3,620 participants age 65 years and older.

Her research confirmed the link

between hearing loss and cognitive decline, but her data also showed that the participants with hearing loss who wore hearing instruments showed decline similar to those with no or minimal hearing loss unlike the greater cognitive decline seen in participants with untreated hearing loss.

Obviously, there is more research to be done in this area, but having ease of communication and improved quality of life today with the hope of preserving mental health in the future makes me ask, “why wait to get hearing instruments?” There is a high prevalence of hearing loss, and it is not “normal,” so something should be done about it!

People who think they have hearing loss, probably do. They need to seek treatment and not make excuses. According to Better Hearing Institute, it can be said that people who wear hearing instruments:

1. Value relationships because they are more likely to have a strong social network

2. Like to be active and are more likely to meet up with friends and to exercise

3. Love life because they are more likely to be optimistic and to feel engaged in life

4. Are Go-Getters because they are more likely to tackle problems

5. Value happiness as they are able to get more pleasure from doing things and are less likely to feel “down.”

Lisa B. Fell

Dr. Lisa B. Fell is a board-certified audiologist and co-owner of Audiology Experts, a private audiology and hearing aid practice in Arlington. www.AudiologyExperts.com