Can you hear me?
Are you troubled with your hearing? Unable to hear some conversations clearly?
Troubled with hearing difficulties in certain environments? Restaurants? Auditoriums? Large meeting rooms? Can’t hear people speak when they are a little distance away? Unable to hear certain types of voices? Women’s voices? Men’s? Children’s? Certain volumes are more challenging? Whispers? Murmurs?
If your response to any of the above questions is yes, you may have a hearing problem, the best response to which would be to have a hearing test. These are available in many places and usually are free with no obligation to buy a hearing aid.
In the last few years, I suspected hearing difficulties, particularly with my left ear. Certain sounds, conversations were harder to hear: restaurant conversations, spousal conversations occasionally, TV volumes with some movie or TV scenes. A hearing test confirmed my suspicions: hearing loss in both ears.
The next step was to investigate hearing devices.
I disliked the idea of getting a visible external hearing aid. Being a senior, I am very cognizant of ageism. A visible hearing device would likely exacerbate the situation. Our society treats seniors in denigrating ways enough already, second-class citizenship. A visible hearing device would relegate me to being spotted immediately as a senior. Hence, a visible device was off the table.
The issue came to pro vs. con considerations rather than getting a device.
Hearing aids amplify sounds, making it easier to hear speech, music, and other sounds.
Communication is improved.
Hearing aids improve independence as wearers rely less on assistance from other people.
Hearing aids are often less expensive than other hearing loss options such as surgery.
Hearing aids can be quite expensive, especially for newer, more advanced models. Financial assistance may be available such as government programs or insurance companies.
Hearing aids require regular maintenance, such as cleaning and battery replacement. This is be time-consuming and adds to their cost.
Hearing aids may not be effective for individuals with severe hearing loss or certain types of hearing loss. In such cases, other options need to be considered.
Adjusting to wearing hearing aids can take time and be difficult.
There are other factors that need to be considered when thinking about hearing aids:
What is your usual daily environment? Are you surrounded by situations where your hearing is difficult, where it is important? In my case, I write and research on a computer alone for most of my working day.
However, people who are in environments where optimal hearing is important, need to give good hearing priority. For example, a teacher needs to hear the students; a musician needs to hear the music. A writer working alone may not necessarily need to hear clearly.
Technology has come a long way, as they say. Inner ear canal devices are almost completely invisible and deliver improved hearing, effectively and practically. Their use is enhanced by smartphone connectivity. Hence, wearers can fine-tune their devices to suit their situation or environment at the touch of a digital icon.
The likeliest and biggest factors people need to consider if they are thinking about getting hearing aids are cost, device management, and practicality. Subsidies and financial assistance can be found in the Ontario Government and some health insurance companies. Management and practicality issues can be handled by an audiologist.
The bottom line
If hearing is becoming a challenge or a problem for you, a hearing test and consultation with an auditory specialist may be the next essential step to improved hearing.