May is National Better Hearing & Speech Month. Whether for yourself or someone you care about, there’s probably never been a better time to do something about hearing difficulties than right now.
A Harvard Medical School study has revealed that close bonds with others is the single most important factor in both happiness and longevity in later life1.
Given this, overcoming barriers to communication is incredibly important to wellbeing. So, why do many people take years before taking a first step to address their hearing difficulties?
According to Pauline Dinnauer, Vice President of Audiological Care at Connect Hearing, there are a few key reasons, including: “Failure to recognize the impacts of hearing loss, pride, and the cost of hearing aids. To a lesser extent, unrealistic expectations and wavering persistence with hearing aids is also an issue.”
Hearing loss progresses gradually, making it hard for people to know how much their hearing has changed. What may begin with jokes about ‘selective deafness’, or struggling to follow conversations in noisy environments, can progress into avoidance of social situations and group conversations.
While some people worry about the stigma of wearing aids, when they stop having to say “Sorry, could you repeat that?”, they feel more ‘youthful’. Furthermore, the path to better hearing may simply involve removing a build-up of earwax or the adoption of an invisible hearing aid.
The cost of hearing aids can also hold people back. Some people always seem to put others’ needs ahead of their own. But they may be failing to appreciate that that their loved ones want them to be able to communicate with family and friends with greater ease and enjoyment. And the cost of a custom-programmed hearing aid starts as low as $499.
While hearing aids have technology to improve people’s ability to follow conversations, enjoy music, and tune in to the sounds of nature, they cannot repair damage caused by noise, medications, illness, or aging. According to Dinnauer, “The key to ‘success’ with hearing aids is: going in with an open mind, continuing to work with your hearing care professional to customize settings to your unique needs, patience, and persistence.”
When is it time to address hearing difficulties?
The sooner someone recognizes hearing loss and addresses it the better. If you, or someone you care about, identifies with any of the following then it’s time:
- Having to listen intently to hear or follow speech.
- Difficulty in noisy places or when multiple people are speaking.
- Consistent ringing in the ears (i.e. tinnitus).
- Others say you don’t hear very well.
What can you do?
This could involve learning more about hearing loss, having a hearing evaluation to establish a ‘base line’, or having
earwax removed by a trained hearing care professional. If hearing loss is present, you will have the opportunity of a free, 2-week hearing aid trial so that you make making an informed decision.
Call 281.671.9626 or visit connecthearing.com to find out more.