The thought of wearing hearing aids is concerning to many people. There is a stigma and numerous myths associated with hearing aids. Unfortunately, too often, hearing aids are not fit using best practice standards. Therefore, they are likely not as beneficial as they could be and can cause patient frustration. It can be so hard to know what questions to ask, what kind of service to expect, and where to go to find help for your (or your loved ones) hearing. Here’s what you should know:
- Hearing loss is associated with the onset of dementia. Research suggests that long term hearing loss has a trickle-down effect on the brain, lifestyle, and quality of life, which can lead to dementia.*
- Hearing aids should be fit to your own unique prescription using a special piece of equipment that measures and verifies the sound coming out of the hearing aid. Otherwise, it’s like throwing a dart at a dartboard blind.
- Technology has advanced tremendously over the year; however, they still work through a damaged system and will reach a maximum point of potential that is not like your “normal” hearing. Your audiologist or hearing instrument specialist is responsible for helping you understand what appropriate expectations and what technology are is best for you.
- Quality of life has been shown to significantly improve with the proper fit and use of amplification. Ask your provider what other compensatory strategies you can learn to enhance your hearing experience.
- You’re never too ‘old’ to wear hearing aids! Did you know that nearly 27 million American’s ages 50 and over have a hearing loss but only one in seven uses a hearing aid? While waiting to pursue amplification, communication with loved ones becomes more difficult, and isolation and health risks increase. The truth is that connecting with others can help your brain stay younger and keep you involved with life.
- Even though there is no scientific method or evidence that natural hearing can be restored; research is ongoing. Regardless of hair cell restoration, the neural pathways in the brain need to be stimulated to use them again. Extended periods of hearing loss lead to neural failure and those neural pathways cannot be restored. Therefore, stimulating the brain through properly fit hearing aids gives the brain as much potential as possible for future scientific breakthroughs.
There are so many reasons not to avoid hearing aids. The more knowledge you have, the better decisions you can make about your quality of life, health, and the future of your hearing abilities.
*Hearing loss and the dementia connection. John Hopkins University, Nov 12, 2021.