I thought it was time for us to have a chat about the lies you tell yourself about why you don't wear hearing aids. Strap yourself in though, I have not got a huge reputation for mollycoddling, but don't worry, we will explore honest answers to pretty spurious statements. As Oticon say, Open Up Your World, or more likely, take the damn blinkers off.
My Hearing Loss isn't Severe Enough
Even A Mild Hearing Loss
Apart from all of that, even a mild hearing loss needs to be treated. In fact, recent evidence that has come to light in relation to untreated hearing loss and cognitive decline frightened me so much I started wearing my hearing aids all the time.
Hearing Loss & Cognitive Decline
Let me explain, we as professionals were always worried about the wider effect of hearing loss on general health and emotional well being. In the last few years though, evidence has come to light that connects untreated hearing loss to more rapid cognitive decline and possibly dementia.
The evidence has made us as professionals change our own thoughts about intervention in hearing loss. We are now recommending hearing aids even for mild hearing losses that we may not have before.
So, it's pretty simple, if you have a hearing loss at all, you should really think about treating it with hearing aids if they are appropriate.
Hearing Aids are Uncomfortable
Yes, that's right, they are strange at the beginning. You have never worn something in your ear all day before. Why in hell would they not be uncomfortable or foreign? That feeling will fade with a little time. If it hasn't faded within a week you may need to be re-sized, generally, it is a simple process. Stop using excuses because you don't like the idea of wearing hearing aids. Time to get over yourself, which brings us onto.
I Would be Embarrassed to Wear a Hearing Aid
So, I understand that actually, I don't feel it, but I do understand it. For me it is a simple equation, need hearing aids, get them. I really don't give a toss what other people think, in fact, I am probably famous for it. But, I do understand that other people don't see it as that simple for them. They see having to wear a hearing aid as some sort of statement on them, the ageing process and their worth.
Truly, is it more embarrassing to be in control of your own ability to communicate or to stumble through life trying to bluff something while everyone knows you have a problem?
That's all arse (Irish technical term) complete and utter arse. A hearing loss is not a statement on you, on who you are, on how old you are, it simply is. No more and no less. It is a problem that is causing you real issues. Not doing something about a hearing loss that is affecting your life is a statement on you.
Truly, is it more embarrassing to be in control of your own ability to communicate or to stumble through life trying to bluff something while everyone knows you have a problem? Because believe me, everyone knows you have a problem.
Exactly What You Are Missing
Let's think about this, what are you missing, what are you losing out on by not dealing with your hearing loss? The whispered words of a loved one, the simple joy of a particularly moving piece of music, the words of your Grandchildren, the joy of easy social contact.
The Joy of Easy Communication
How much do you miss the joy of easy communication, getting the joke first time, instead of them having to repeat themselves? The frustration of having to ask someone "what did they say?" The sitting in a room of people you love while being almost completely isolated. The simple joy of easy conversation.
You know the next time you are tired and worn out from the effort needed to just listen? You know that feeling of stress, that feeling of being overwhelmed? You know the simmering strife in your home life because the people you love are at their wits end? Well, most of that can be easily dealt with by using hearing aids.
Damn it, Reclaim Your Life!
Reclaim your life, it is as simple as that, are you ready to pack up and die? Well if you aren't, get on with living.
I do not want to admit a hearing loss in public
Why? I go back to my last statement, everyone knows you have a hearing loss. Believe me, they knew long before you really did. So what are you really worried about? You are worried about being embarrassed, but believe me and you know it well. You will be more embarrassed by getting everything wrong, asking people to repeat themselves and generally looking like you are doddering a bit.
Yup, doddering! Let me ask you this, which looks older and a little senile? A person who seems to be constantly forgetful, who asks others several times to repeat themselves, gives the wrong answers to questions, constantly confuses words and constantly goes on about how people didn't mumble so much in my day.
Or, someone who takes control of their ability to communicate, lives an active social life and is generally happier with their lives? Think about that, I know what the right answer is and so do you.
Hearing Aids Do Not Work in Noisy Environments
Yes, they do, especially if you buy the right level of technology for you. Simply put, if you want to hear well in complex sound situations you need to think about the top two levels of technology. Does that mean that the bottom two levels of technology won't help you? No, it doesn't, they will help you a great deal, especially if you use something like a remote mic to give you an extra bit of help.
Hearing aids will work to give you the sound cues you need to understand what is being said. Will they allow you to hear everything in a really noisy situation? Maybe not, but you have to realise that even people with perfect hearing have problems in noise sometimes. Be realistic about what you should hear, be more realistic about your expectations of the hearing aids you buy as well.
I Have More Serious Priorities
Actually, you probably don't, back to what I was talking about earlier. Our new understanding of the effects of hearing loss on general health and cognitive function makes treating hearing loss a priority. As I said, we have changed how we think and we are recommending the treatment of even mild hearing loss. I do understand that there may be other things going on in your life, things that make it difficult to consider your ability to hear as a priority for you. But your ability to hear is your ability to communicate with ease. That has an effect on all the different parts of your life.
They don't Restore Your Hearing to Normal
I am afraid nothing can restore your hearing to normal, but hearing aids do a damn good job at giving you normal levels of hearing. They are the difference between hearing what is being said and saying what? all the time.
I Hear Well Enough in Most Situations
Yes, about that, nope. Ask your long-suffering family about that. One of the things I hear often is that I hear well in one to one situations. Generally, people with hearing loss do okay in one to one situations where their companion is facing them and the face is well lit. With no competing noise and full view of the person's face, they get on okay.
However, we do a simple speech test with many people, words presented at normal speech levels. Of course, there are no visual references so they are relying on the hearing only. When they have gotten three out of five or six out of ten words wrong, they suddenly realise they aren't doing as well as they thought they were.
Hearing loss isn't a statement on who you are, not getting proper treatment for it and trying to bluff is.
Damn it be a grown up
Yup, enough prevaricating, enough lying to yourself, enough excuses. You owe it to yourself and your ongoing health and happiness. Hell, you owe it to your long-suffering family. Time to put your big boy or big girl pants on. This is too important to hide behind bull, believe me when I say it. Hearing loss isn't a statement on who you are, not getting proper treatment for it and trying to bluff is.
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Posted by Geoff
Geoffrey (Geoff, anything else makes him nervous) Cooling has been involved with the hearing aid industry for over ten years. He has worked in private practice dispensing hearing aids and as a manufacturer's rep. He has written two books and they are both available on Amazon. He loves technology, passing on knowledge and is legendary for many other things, primarily the amount he curses, his dry and mischievous sense of humour and his complete intolerance of people who are full of themselves. Please feel free to connect with him
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