“Do your homework and check online reviews. Try different kinds of aids before you buy, don’t just buy the first one you are offered.”
How and when did you first realize you were experiencing hearing loss?
I first realized I had a hearing loss when I was 27. I started a job that required a hearing test. The job that I applied for was a very noisy work environment. They didn’t understand how bad my hearing loss was, sometimes they didn’t believe that I had a hearing loss being so young. I was unable to wear my hearing aids while working, hearing protection just made my hearing even worse.
Where did you first go for information or help? Why?
I went to my audiologist that was covered by my job’s insurance coverage to get a more comprehensive hearing test and to get fitted with custom hearing aids.
Based on your experience, do you have suggestions for others on how and where to start? Any other important things for them to consider?
Do your research online, read reviews. I didn’t have that option back then. If you can, find an independent audiologist that works with a lot of different brands who has lots of choices. Make sure they allow you to try a couple different brands before committing to buy, everyone’s hearing loss is a bit different, there is no one-size-fits-all.
What was your biggest concern about hearing aids? Did that turn out to be true?
I think I have the same concerns that a lot of new hearing aid users have. I was more worried about what other people thought of me wearing hearing aids, especially because I was so young. I got over being self-conscious and realized how much hearing aids helped me. I started taking on the adage of it was more important for me to hear than what other people thought about me wearing them.
How have hearing aids changed your life? Were there any unexpected or surprising benefits?
They have improved my life so much, being able to understand people and engage in conversations that I would normally have missed. They help me not to feel isolated in situations or crowds. The improvement in my hearing allowed me to enjoy going out to dinner and attend events such as weddings. The hearing aids made me aware of what I was missing in my world and makes it a lot more enjoyable.
My latest pair allows me to direct connect to my phone and TV devices. Understanding people on my cell phone used to be very difficult. Now my hearing aids allow for wireless connection to my cell phone, so it transmits the person’s voice to my ear from the aid. This makes it so much easier to communicate and not shy away from talking on the phone.
Has improved hearing inspired you to pursue new activities or causes? Or continue doing things you enjoy?
It has allowed me to open up more in groups and in restaurants because I can understand what people are asking. It has given me the confidence to go back to school. Hearing aids have improved my personal relationships.
What would you tell someone who is considering hearing aids?
Don’t wait, find a provider with lots of experience. Do your homework and check online reviews. Try different kinds of aids before you buy, don’t just buy the first one you are offered. You don’t even realize what you missed in relationships with family and friends.
Which hearing aid do you currently have?
Who is your hearing care professional?