In cases of hearing loss, the most common treatment a hearing care professional will offer is a hearing aid. While we all wait for a permanent cure for hearing loss, hearing aids are often the best option available, as they help to maximise the hearing a person has left. Hearing aids work by enhancing sounds a person no longer hears naturally, making it easier to understand and hear important sounds for communication and environmental awareness. As soon as a hearing loss is measurable it’s likely that a hearing aid can provide help.
If you or a loved one is recommended a hearing aid, a very natural question to ask is “do I really need a hearing aid?”. For people that rely upon their hearing for their occupation, for family or social responsibilities, or for personal safety, the answer would be a clear “yes, I do need a hearing aid!”. However, considering it takes the average person seven to ten years to act upon their hearing loss, it’s obvious that many of us feel less certain about the answer.
“Do I need a hearing aid?” is the wrong question.
Simply considering if you need a hearing aid might not give you the full picture, and a more important question to allow for an informed discussion is “what do I risk by not acting now to improve my hearing?”.
This question allows you to understand the consequences of not choosing to proceed with a hearing aid. The latest research on hearing health is starting to show that there are significant consequences both in the medium to long term for those who decide to delay intervention.
Early adoption of hearing aids, even in cases of mild hearing loss, has a number of advantages over waiting:
- Those with hearing loss who don’t wear hearing aids are 50% more likely to develop mild cognitive impairment, a pre cursor to dementia, than those with hearing loss who wear hearing aids
- Those with hearing loss who opt to not be fitted with hearing aids need to exhaust additional cognitive resources (i.e., brain power) engaging in challenging social situations, resulting in additional exhaustion and mental fatigue when with company
- Those with hearing loss who don’t wear hearing aids are at greater risk of social isolation, loneliness and depression
- Those with hearing loss without hearing aids are more likely to live sedentary lives with less physical activity
Modern hearing aids also provide a number of technological benefits. Often referred to as “connectivity”, hearing aids can now be directly connected to media and phone sources of sound via Bluetooth technology in a similar way to earphone products and can also access special accessibility settings of the phone, allowing for an enhanced phone or media experience, and greater connectedness to social and other entertainment activities.
Choosing to adopt hearing aids earlier saves the need for looking at other methods of hearing augmentation, such as TV entertainment system upgrades, earphones/headphones, or assistive listening apps.
The early bird gets the worm, and the early hearing aid adopter maximises the benefits of hearing well.
When it comes to maximising the benefits of wearing a hearing aid, there is a lot to gain from acting quickly, and a lot to lose if the decision is delayed.
Watch out for the early warning signs of hearing loss that should prompt you to act:
- Voices are audible but not clear – people tend to sound like they are mumbling more than before
- Situations with background noise are becoming increasingly difficult
- You find yourself asking friends and family to repeat often
- Your TV, car radio or phone are louder than others require
If you find yourself noticing any of these signs, or have more questions about your hearing ability, book your appointment today. Victorian Hearing have ten sites across Victoria at Clayton, Brighton, Geelong, Malvern, Melbourne CBD, Mornington, South Yarra, Werribee, North Balwyn, and North Fitzroy.