Often the person with the hearing loss is the last person to know. Because most hearing losses happen so gadually, it may go unnoticed unitl it has become a big problem. Experiencing one of more of the following indicators could suggest a hearing loss:
A painless hearing test will not only give you information regarding your hearing health and ability, but can open up options to how you can work towards easier communications.
Just as it is important to have regular physical checkups and dental visits, it is equally important to monitor our hearing health regularly. Changes in hearing ability can also be an indicator of other health conditions that may require further testing and/or treatment. Those with normal hearing ability should have regular hearing tests every 2-4 years, and those who have a hearing loss should be retested annually to determine if there is any changes and to adjust the amplification accordingly.
Unfortunately, some people with a hearing loss may feel too embarrassed to seek help; but hearing loss results from a physical mechanism in the ear not working correctly, and should be thought of no differently than any other physical ailment. If we are not ashamed to assist our eyesight through the use of glasses, why should we think differently when it comes to our hearing? We often relate hearing loss to being old but in actuality, hearing loss can effect children, adults, and seniors alike; not only due to the aging process, but from excessive noise exposure, ototoxic medications, ear infections, illness, or physical conditions.
The myth is that hard if hearing people are less intelligent than "hearing" people is so deeply ingrained in the general population that 90% of people with hearing loss refuse to take positive action regarding their hearing for fear of being looked upon negatively. The truth is, our hearing ability is not a reflection of our mental capacity at all, and hearing loss is actually quite common. A recent survey by the Better Hearing Institute in the US found that 14.6% of baby boomers (ages 41-59) have a hearing problem, and 7.4% of Generation X'ers (ages 29-40) already have hearing loss. So if you have a hearing loss, you are certainly not alone.
Fortunately, the stigmas associated with hearing loss and hearing aids are beginning to lessen due to increased awareness, and the widespread use of other listening devices such as Bluetooth technology and earphones. It is becoming commonplace to see others wearing devices on their ears for various reasons.
"An untreated hearing loss is more noticeable than hearing aids"Dr. Sergei Kochki
Our hearing is our most vital sense for communication and keeping us connected. A hearing loss becomes a barrier to communicating effectively, and can cause a great deal of frustration. Those with hearing loss can experience increased irritability, anxiety, fatigue, tension, and stress, dependence on others, strain on relationships, and if the loss is left untreated, can gradually lead to social isolation and depression. People with a hearing loss may feel that it becomes too much work to be in social situations, or ask others to repeat themselves yet again; therefore, they may begin to withdraw and self isolate.
Fortunately, when hearing loss is treated, through hearing aids and/or medical treatment, we often see a noticeable improvement in the person's overall quality of life. One may experience improved relationships, better self-esteem, improved mental health, increased social activity, and a greater sense of independence and security. Proper treatment can assist those with hearing loss to participate in social settings, and feel more confident while communicating.
As mentioned above, there are many negative side effects of untreated hearing loss. Hearing loss is often thought of as the invisible handicap yet can have very real and profound consequences on ones quality of life. Furthermore, auditory deprivation can also occur when both ears are not stimulated for a period of time. Fortunately, hearing aids are able to provide stimulation to help prevent this from occurring.
Auditory deprivation describes a lack of auditory stimulation to an unaided ear due to hearing loss. Because sound that is processed through the auditory system is not actually interpreted as sound until the auditory centers of the brain are activated, this lack of stimulation can weaken or atrophy the auditory centers over time, and cause a significant decrease in speech recognition and hearing ability to the unaided ear. With auditory deprivation, the brain gradually loses some of its auditory processing ability because the auditory pathways and areas in the brain are ‘starved’ of sound. Studies have found neuronal structural differences in the auditory cortex of auditory deprived brains compared to brains that were not deprived.
Children are often diagnosed with hearing losses quickly due to newborn hearing screenings, and can therefore begin treatment at an early age; however, for adults, hearing loss is typically left untreated for several years. A growing collection of research indicates that individuals with hearing loss are better helped when they obtain treatment quickly after diagnosis through consistent use of hearing aids and/or appropriate medical treatment. Furthermore, prolonged auditory deprivation makes the process of adjusting to wearing hearing aids more difficult.
Studies also show that when there is hearing loss in both ears and only one ear is fit with a hearing aid, the auditory nerve in the unaided ear can atrophy, resulting in auditory deprivation. The unaided ear shows a significant decrease in speech recognition ability as compared to the aided ear. Fortunately, several researchers have found that when a second hearing aid is fit, the stimulation of the auditory system can increase speech discrimination ability over time.
The key to avoiding adverse effects on your hearing due to auditory deprivation is to keep the auditory system active and not let parts of the auditory nerve stay dormant. The sooner these centers of the auditory system and the brain are activated when hearing loss is first diagnosed, the greater the success you will have to hear.
At Absolute Hearing Services it is our primary goal to detect the onset of hearing loss and provide the proper treatments or referrals that are necessary in working towards better hearing. We will begin the process by conducting a thorough case history to review your medical and hearing history, as well as discussing any concerns you may have. After examining the ear canal, and eardrum to rule out any physical conditions, we conduct hearing testing while you sit comfortably in a sound-proof booth. You will be presented with a range of different tones and speech sounds that provide information about the severity and type of any hearing loss that is present, if any.
It is important to us at Absolute Hearing Services that our customers have a solid understanding of their own hearing loss as well as what treatment options are available. That is why we take extra steps to provide detailed explanations to each of our customers who have a hearing test. This gives our clients the confidence they need to make the best decision based on their individual needs.
After conducting a complete hearing evaluation and case history to assess the type and degree of any hearing loss present, the specific listening environments, needs, and budget, we can then determine which options are available and which hearing aids are best suited to you. As hearing health professionals, it is our duty to fit amplification that is appropriately matched to each individual's hearing loss. What works for one person's hearing loss will not necessarily work for another's.
Hearing aids come in a variety of styles and sizes, and are also available in different levels of technology. The higher the level of technology, the more automatic the hearing aids will be, and the more features they will include. Each individual will have specific goals they will aim to meet; therefore, the consultation will help to determine those goals and which products will help attain them.
When fitting hearing aids, it is important to determine if one or both ears can benefit from amplification. If both ears have hearing loss and could benefit from hearing aids, then we recommend both ears be fit. We naturally hear from two ears, so wearing two hearing aids provides the most naturally balanced perception of sound. Studies show those who wear two hearing aids have a better understanding of speech; those wearing only one hearing aid typically need the volume 10-15 dB louder than when wearing amplification on both sides. Binaural (two-sided) hearing also provides better understanding in group and noisy situations, and better ability to tell the direction sounds are coming from. It can be exhausting for those with hearing loss to hear simple everyday speech and sounds; therefore, wearing two hearing aids is also shown to cause less strain to hear, so hearing is more enjoyable and relaxing.
It has been shown that individuals can understand speech better when sound is 10-15 dB quieter than
As mentioned above in, "Do I really need hearing aids?" studies show that when there is hearing loss in both ears and only one ear is fit with a hearing aid, the auditory nerve in the unaided ear can atrophy over time, resulting in auditory deprivation. Additionally, it has been noted that those with binaural hearing loss who experience tinnitus (ringing sensation in the ears) notice improvement when wearing two hearing aids. When a person with tinnitus in both ears only wears one hearing aid, the ringing remains in the un-aided ear.