Many people are reluctant to have their hearing assessed because they fear the outcome of the results. However, it should also be no surprise that by the time many people have their hearing assessed, they are already aware of the listening difficulties they are having in their everyday environments. These difficulties have been the impetus for many to schedule their appointment in the first place.
Once your hearing test is complete, your audiologist will make recommendations regarding next steps. In instances where hearing aids are recommended, many people hesitate and wonder if they are really necessary.
Here are some things to consider when deciding:
Your audiologist has made their recommendation based on objective information, in accordance with professional guidelines and standards.
Hearing aid(s) are recommended by your audiologist when they are deemed appropriate and beneficial for you. There are a variety of styles and options available and your audiologist will guide you through the selection process and prescribe what is most appropriate given your needs and concerns.
Hearing aids are a choice you make when you are ready.
Nobody will force you to buy and/or wear hearing aids. Hearing aid (s) are a choice you make when you are ready to do so. Even when hearing aid (s) are recommended, your audiologist will only proceed with the process when you accept and agree with the recommendation. Hearing aid (s) are a decision that involves significant time and expense. You should recognize your hearing difficulties and be highly motivated to improve your hearing ability when starting this process in order to improve the successful transition to amplification.
Remember your trial period.
Take comfort in your trial period. When you purchase hearing aids, you will be given a trial period. This is the period of time (typically 30-90 days from your fitting appointment) whereby you get to wear your hearing aid(s). If you are not satisfied with their performance and/or decide you do not wish to continue with hearing aid(s), you can return your hearing aid(s) to the dispensary. The costs associated with the return will be outlined when you purchase, but are generally only a small fraction of the purchase price (this amount covers some of the costs that were involved in your hearing aid fitting).
Pay attention to details.
You don’t know what you are missing when you can’t hear it. As a result, it is easy to deny the severity of an issue when you are not aware that it exists. I would encourage you to start to pay attention to those details you may not have necessarily been attuned to previously. For example: how loud is your television? How many times do you ask someone to repeat what they have said? Do others complain about your hearing? More times than not, those who interact with someone who experiences hearing loss are more aware of the loss than the person with the hearing loss and these people can be helpful in providing insight into difficulties that may exist. This information may be helpful when deciding to proceed with amplification.
Your hearing is your responsibility.
Your hearing is your responsibility; however, in many cases an attempt is made to shift the burden to those that the person with the hearing loss interacts with. A common attitude is “if they want me to hear, they can talk louder” or “I hear what I want to hear”. This process of shifting the blame to others creates a dynamic of frustration and tension. A hearing loss does not simply affect the person who is experiencing the hearing loss, it has a negative impact on those who interact with you as well. The best course of action to take when you have a hearing loss is to follow recommendations made by your audiologist and take the necessary steps toward better hearing.
The Assistive Devices Program (ADP) provides up to $500.00 per ear for hearing aid (s) every 3-5 years in Ontario. Many private insurance companies provide additional (typically partial) coverage. You may be eligible for other sources of assistance (e.g., WSIB, ODSP, OW) depending on your individual circumstances. These financial aids can help offset the costs involved that may deter you from obtaining the help you need. Cost should not hinder you from obtaining help and you should discuss any financial concerns with your audiologist to help outline a plan of action that can help you obtain hearing aid(s).
Most people who wear hearing aids are just like you.
Most people who wear hearing aids are just like you. They can carry on a conversation in quiet environments. Most people who wear hearing aids can function on some level without them. Even someone with profound hearing loss can adapt through lip-reading etc. Therefore the “need” for hearing aids can be very individual and based on internal criteria that can vary person to person. It is important not to get caught in the trap of thinking that your hearing needs to be “bad enough” before you take steps to improve it. Remember that it takes a lot of mental effort to fill in the gaps of what you are missing. Hearing aids are designed to improve the quality of your hearing and should be considered when recommended by your audiologist.
Hopefully this has given you some food for thought and you are excited at the prospect of better hearing!