Every year, many people are diagnosed with hearing loss. However, on average, those who have received such a diagnosis will put off getting hearing aids for as long as seven years. Unfortunately, when individuals with hearing loss simply sweep their condition under the rug, they face consequences such as their hearing worsening and their ability to recognize words declining as well.
According to research, there is a direct relationship between untreated hearing loss and dementia in older people. It was also discovered that older individuals who acknowledge their hearing loss by getting hearing devices take advantage of stimulating their brains, which can help them live a healthier, longer life.
What to Expect When Addressing Your Hearing Loss
While many people believe they are “not yet ready” for hearing aids, when there is a significant hearing loss, appointments with an audiologist and otolaryngologist are important in the initial stages. The doctors will explain about a number of options for aural rehabilitation and schedule follow-up appointments. During these appointments, the doctors will give you a Communication Assessment, a test that determines your specific hearing loss. The audiologist will then recommend a few options that can satisfy your listening needs after going over the results.
It’s important to know that this doesn’t necessarily mean you will only be fitted for hearing aids. There are a variety of things that may help you to hear better in different situations.
Hearing Devices Other than Hearing Aids
There are various hearing devices available in addition to hearing aids themselves. Your audiologist may recommend assistive listening devices, also known as ALDs, or hearing assistive technologies, also known as HATs. These can be used as standalone devices or in addition to hearing aids. There are also personal sound amplifiers, also known as PSAPs, to help those who do not have hearing loss to be able to hear better in certain noisier environments. For example, if there is too much noise in a busy restaurant, a person without hearing loss can benefit by using a PSAP like AirPods connected to their iPhone as it can serve as a microphone that transmits conversation directly to the individual’s ears.
Other Strategies to Help You to Hear Better
In addition to these hearing devices, additional strategies can be used to help you hear better. In noisier environments, you can request a preferred seat in places like restaurants, lecture halls or theaters. For instance, if you go to a restaurant, you might want to request a table near the wall so that competing noises can be limited. At the same time, you want a location with good lighting so you can clearly see the person or people you’re with to pick up all their visual cues.
If you are at a lecture hall, you should get a seat closer to the front to get the dual benefit of visual cues and being able to hear better. Meanwhile, many theaters offer hearing accessible devices for audience members with technology that allows sound to be stream directly to your ears through a special set of earphones.
Many people with hearing loss complain about not being able to adequately hear their phones or TVs. CaptionCall or CapTel devices are popular options that are landline phones with a screen that shows captions the user can read. For enjoying television, TV Ears, a Bluetooth enabled device, streams sound from the TV directly to your ears.
Of course, safety is a huge concern for those with hearing loss. There are options for issues involving the inability to hear certain sounds in the form of alerting devices. These may have louder sounds or even flashing lights to more effectively alert a person.
It’s important to take control of your life and health if you have been diagnosed with hearing loss. If you are in Alabama and want to take the next step toward addressing your hearing loss, contact Alabama Ear, Nose and Throat Specialists, LLC at your earliest convenience.