Hearing clinic: Perception vs reality (Part Two)

Dear Reader, this blog is the conclusion to the first impressions series about what goes on in a hearing clinic. In this second blog, we look at the last two questions I have asked the members of the Hearing Excellence Team. We hope you come away with a more informative sense of what hearing diagnosis and treatment can do for all individuals.

First Impressions of the Hearing Clinic (Part Two)

Throughout my clinical years of experience I have noticed that many clients, and sometimes their loved ones, are surprised at how much one can benefit from hearing treatment. I found that people are not aware of how common hearing issues are until they encounter it either themselves, or through the experience of someone close to them. This idea lead me to asking two more questions regarding hearing loss and treatment towards some of the members of the Hearing Excellence Team:

  1. Did your encounters or observations with hearing loss change your perspective about how

    important hearing treatment can be?

  1. How aware do you believe the general public actually is about hearing related issues?

In answer to my third question, Cathy, another member of our Hearing Excellence Team, shared with me her first hearing related experience:

“When my niece got hearing aids, my perception changed, she had really cool molds, swirls of pinks and purples with a small back piece. I was surprised how sophisticated devices were, how much technology could fit into such a tiny device. It’s mind boggling! With the proper treatment, you can’t tell how bad the hearing actually is because of how well the devices actually work!”

Another member of our team, Heather, had shared a similar perspective change:

“[I] previously thought hearing loss wasn’t a big deal. Then I completed a placement observing patients being treated within the hearing clinic. I saw those who had hearing loss and were fit with hearing devices. That’s when I also saw that it really changes people’s lives, and, that it is actually more important than you first would believe!”

These statements fall in line with what I have experienced as a clinician when I receive feedback from clients and their loved ones. However, my last question, which was how aware was the general public about hearing related issues, really got me thinking. I mean, was it just me, or was hearing loss not as publicized as other medical maladies? I was not alone in this thinking. Many of my colleagues in the team agreed with me:

[Daniele] “A lot of people don’t have any idea of it (hearing treatment) really. I always find myself taking pictures of aids on instagram to show people how far technology has come, what variety they have and the better quality of life it provide if they had their hearing loss treated!”

[Sharad] “The general public is not very aware. Even medical professionals are under aware of this issue. For example, the family doctor is a hub connecting patients to specialists, if they themselves are not aware of how important hearing treatment is for their patients’ quality of life, patients will be under diagnosed. ”

Before I started interviewing my team members about their first impressions and thoughts about the field, I wasn’t sure what I would find. From their shared experiences I realized that, even though there are many different types of hearing issues and client populations within the field, there were quite a few commonly shared experiences. These shared experiences were truly unique to the field of Audiology as to the lack of awareness of how common hearing loss is and the benefits of hearing treatment to one’s quality of life. What’s more, these interviews reminded me why I entered into this profession as a clinician.

I hope you, the reader, have benefited from the conclusion to our first impressions series as much as our Hearing Excellence team has in sharing our experiences with each other.

Mitra Mehra

Audiologist Reg. CASLPO. M.Cl.Sc. Aud (c)

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