By Cynthia Chow, Au. D. and Alex Sixt
One of the most beautiful sounds of rain is raindrops on the roof. If you or a loved one can't hear them, ask yourself, "Should I wear hearing aids?"
Chances are if you’re asking yourself this question, you or a loved one are dealing with hearing loss issues and you wouldn’t be alone!
According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, approximately15 percent of American adults report some trouble with hearing loss. Although hearing loss is a common problem for many people, taking the first step toward purchasing their first pair of new hearing aids can be the biggest struggle the most common reason being stigma surroundinghearing aids for people both young and mature.
Luckily, times have changed.
Hearing aids are no longer viewed as a sign of aging. In fact, they can help you feel more youthful by improving the condition of your hearing, and many individuals fit withhearing aidsfor the first time wished they had done so years earlier!
However, it’s not only mature age groups that experience hearing loss; younger people do, as well. According to the WHO, over 1 billion young adults are at risk of permanent, avoidable hearing loss due to unsafe listening practices. Experiencing hearing loss at a younger age can be overwhelming, especially for adults in workplace situations who may feel they’re at a disadvantage in meetings or conference calls with many people talking at once. And for anyone dealing with untreated hearing loss, life can quickly begin to feel lonelier.
One of themost bothersome issues that stem from hearing loss is social withdrawal due to difficulty in communicating. Behind-the-ear hearing aids (mosthearing aids are fitted in this style) solve this complaint by improving your ability to stay in touch with the world and others around you. By enhancing the user’s ability to communicate through improved sound quality, listening anxiety is reduced as you are more likely to hear things the way you should the first time, making every interaction clearer and less intimidating.
Individuals with unaided hearing loss often report feelings of social isolation and loneliness. One frequency study foundthateach decibel decrease in hearing perception increased the odds of developing severe loneliness by7 percent; a feeling that can be as harmful to our bodies ascigarettes.
Part of this issue can be attributed to a very common feeling of listening anxiety, as mentioned above when communicating with others. Other individuals with unaided hearing loss complain they can hear, but have a hard time understanding what is said, and this can become magnified in the presence of distracting background noise such as large group events or workplace interactions in the break room. As this listening anxiety increases, the individual with hearing loss oftentimes becomes withdrawn and can feel left out.
Thankfully, this can easily be improved with amplification. After being fit withhearing aids, a majority of individuals report their ability to hear the world around them improves significantly decreasing their listening anxiety and increasing their confidence in communicating with others.
When a person begins to experience hearing loss, the auditory processing areas of the brain begin to deteriorate due to lack of stimulation. And it doesn’t stop there.
When an individual struggles to hear, their brain must work harder to fill in the gaps. The more severe the hearing loss, the more effort is required to comprehend what is being communicated.
This can be both intimidating and exhausting for the listener with hearing loss. For some individuals, hearing loss can also accompany memory loss; and in some instances, it can even exaggerate memory loss issues. Family members might think their loved one is forgetting things or not remembering what was discussed; but in reality, the beloved family member never heard what was said in the first place.
But it isn’t all doom and gloom: after being fitted withhearing aids, there have been countless stories of loved ones “coming back” to their families with improved memory and interactions.
Luckily,hearing aids can help to prevent deterioration, especially with the early introduction ofhearing aids. Research has shown that early amplification leads to better hearing outcomes later in life, with one particular 2011study conducted in Japan that found that subjects experiencing hearing loss who were fitted forhearing aids early on had higher cognitive ability compared to those who did not usehearing aids at all.
It’s clear that the use ofhearing aids helps to not only improve the user’s quality of life but the lives of their loved ones, as well.
Overall, many conversational partners of those with hearing loss notice when an individual with known hearing loss wearshearing aids; not because they see or notice them, but because the conversation is less strenuous. Conversational partners don’t need to repeat themselves or speak louder and slower to be understood, and communication becomes easier and enjoyable, the way it should be.
If you or someone you know is experiencing hearing loss, there’s no time like the present to consider purchasing a pair of new hearing aids. The Sontro™ Hearing Aid may help you hear more clearly! Simply download the SMART otoTune™app and take a 3-minute hearing test. The otoTune app will automatically program your hearing aids to your hearing threshold, in the comfort of home.
If you are unsure you have a hearing loss, Soundwave offer's an online hearing screener which will help you decide if the Sontro™ Hearing Aid is a possible solution for you.
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Earwax is a funny thing; everyone’s ears produce a different amount of earwax. A build-up of earwax on your hearing aid ear domes can cause you not to hear your best. As you wear your hearing aids for a more extended amount of time during the day, you will begin to notice the rhythm of wax production and how often you will need to clean your hearing aid ear domes.
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