“Be patient. Find a good audiologist, who is patient and willing to give you the time you need for adjustments of the hearing aids.”
How and when did you first realize you were experiencing hearing loss?
In my mid to late 50s I began having difficulty understanding men’s voices. I especially struggled on the phone and at meetings, when amplifying a call. As my hearing loss progressed, I struggled to hear at restaurants, understanding the TV, and hearing at movies. I really started to have trouble hearing the Minister during sermons and hearing music.
Did you hesitate to seek care? Why or why not?
I did hesitate to seek professional help for several reasons:
1) I didn’t know a good ENT.
2) When I finally did see an ENT, I saw at least 3, most of whom I did not think were very helpful.
3) Once I settled on an ENT, the price of hearing aids scared me right out the door.
Where did you first go for information or help? Why?
I asked for help from a couple of friends who wear hearing aids. Unfortunately, they had the same complaints I had about not being able to find someone they really liked and felt were helping them.
Based on your experience, do you have suggestions for others on how and where to start? Any other important things for them to consider?
Ask people you know who have hearing loss, who they see for help. Do some research online, learn about the types of hearing loss. When you understand the complexity of the human ear, you begin to realize that there are no cochlear replacements, like hip replacements, one begins to understand the reality of hearing loss better. I didn’t even realize I had tinnitus along with my hearing loss.
What was your biggest concern about hearing aids? Did that turn out to be true?
The cost. What I found a few years after I bought them, was that the Clinic I was using had a high markup on the hearing aids, because the Audiologist would work with you until you were satisfied, no matter how long that took. The fee included not only the fitting, but 3 years of warranty and follow-up by the Audiologist. I did not do my comparison shopping and I could have secured them for far less.
How have hearing aids changed your life? How do they help you at your job, in your hobbies or at volunteer activities?
I would be unemployable now without them. I have to wear my hearing aids to have any communication with my family. I would be a hermit without them.
What would you tell someone who is considering hearing aids?
Try them out, and give it a good two months try. Be patient. Find a good audiologist, who is patient and willing to give you the time you need for adjustments of the hearing aids. You paid for them, don’t be shy about making sure they work to your satisfaction. Do your research and networking to find who is the best in your area and what hearing aids you want to consider. So MANY styles!