According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) approximately 28.8 million U.S. adults could benefit from using hearing aids. When worn consistently, hearing aids can help combat the loneliness and social isolation that many people with hearing loss can experience. Withdrawing from others and avoiding social situations can have an impact on cognitive function as we age.
In fact, research at Johns Hopkins revealed that mild hearing loss doubled dementia risk, moderate loss tripled risk and people with severe hearing loss were five times more likely to develop dementia.
Hearing Aids are Underused
Despite the compelling reasons to use them to improve one’s quality of life, most people who can benefit from hearing aids have never even tried them. Consider these statistics from the NIDCD:
- Among adults aged 70 and older with hearing loss who could benefit from hearing aids, fewer than one in three (30 percent) has ever used them.
- Even fewer adults aged 20 to 69 (approximately 16 percent) who could benefit from wearing hearing aids have ever used them.
Reasons that people delay getting help for their hearing include denial, embarrassment, cost, and concerns that hearing aids are difficult to use.
Three Things to Know Before Getting Hearing Aids
There are many signs of hearing loss including muffled speech, an inability to distinguish between similar words and trouble following conversations in a crowd. Depending on the cause and degree of your hearing loss, hearing aids may help you engage in conversations and life again.
Before you go out and try to purchase your own hearing aids, here are some things you should consider.
1. Hearing aids are a tool, not a cure.
Hearing aids work by amplifying the sound vibrations entering the ear. Cochlear hair cells will convert those vibrations into signals that are passed onto the brain. Hearing aids do not restore your previous hearing and may not be effective depending on the degree of damage to the inner ear.
However, a survey published in Audiology Online revealed an 83% overall satisfaction rate among people who wear hearing aids.
They can be a wonderful tool to help your hearing in social situations and improve your quality of life.
2. Schedule a hearing evaluation first.
Before you think about purchasing hearing aids you should have a comprehensive hearing evaluation by an audiologist. A healthcare professional who specializes in hearing can assess your hearing, talk to you about your goals for improving your hearing and suggest possible treatments that may include hearing aids. An audiologist will share which hearing aids may be the best option for you, will fit and adjust them, and provide follow-up care to make sure they are functioning properly. Your audiologist may even offer a short trial period for you to “test drive” hearing aids.
3. Hearing aids are changing with the times.
Hearing aids have evolved in style, size, and features over the years presenting more options than ever. Many have wireless capability that can interface with phones, computers, and telephones. Some take rechargeable batteries, others are equipped with noise reduction. It’s time to toss out your preconceived notions or reservations about hearing aids and consider how they can improve your life.
See How Hearing Aids Might Help You
Dr. Rande Lazar and the hearing professionals at ENT Memphis have extensive experience in diagnosing and addressing hearing loss. Our three convenient locations in the Memphis area make it easy to schedule your hearing evaluation on our website or by calling our office at 901.821.4300. We offer a Flex-Trial program where you can try out hearing aids for a period of time to better understand how you might benefit from them. ENT Memphis also offers financing options to make hearing aids more accessible.