I encounter many people who walk in the clinic not knowing that they have a hearing loss. Afterwards, when I’ve completed the full assessment and explain the results, that there is, in fact, a hearing loss that may have contributed to their reported symptoms, many are surprised. The responses usually are “I never really noticed any problems with my hearing before!” Or “I thought it was just all that wax that was causing the trouble!” and, of course, the unexpressed question following those statements “So now that I know, what am I supposed to do about it now?”
Common thoughts or feelings that run through one’s mind after finding they have a hearing loss may go something like this… “Unbelievable. One more problem added to the list of things that I need to get fixed! Something that will complicate my life.” Or there may be a faint memory of what hearing devices used to look like. I’ve had clients tell me their parent’s hearing devices were heavy, body worn or “big honkers”. Either way, it’s a lot to take in. You may or may not know a couple of people with hearing devices and the reviews may have been pretty mixed. It’s hard to imagine taking the leap and making a lifestyle change that seems to be more than just a quick fix.
I often counsel my clients that I’m here to give them whatever information will help them in figuring out their next steps: “In discussing the results of your assessment with you, I want to make sure that everything is clear, transparent, and that all the options are laid out on the table for you. Sometimes finding out all the information you need may not happen all in one day. Everyone is different. But the important thing is to remember that a loss of hearing isn’t something that you have to live with, there are many different ways to help you hear better.”
The general purpose behind hearing treatment isn’t always about not having to ask “pardon” all the time. It’s more about keeping or preserving what you have, being able to hear and identify the sounds you haven’t heard in a long time. Or even being able to listen to and enjoy the music in the way that you heard it before the hearing loss became noticeable. It’s pretty amazing how many times I’ve been told “I can finally hear the birds again” or “I never knew that my turn signal in my car sounded like that” The general sentiment behind all of that feedback being I had no idea what I was missing until I decided it was time to do something about my hearing loss.
So when is it a good time to start pursuing hearing treatment? The answer is much clearer when you have a baseline beforehand (recommended after the age of 55 years) to compare results. That way, you can discuss it with your hearing healthcare professional and they can let you know about the red flags beforehand. It’s much easier to pursue hearing treatment at the right time and increasing the success of treatment when you monitor your hearing on a regular (annual or biennial) basis.
If you feel that you aren’t sure whether your hearing is normal, don’t hesitate to contact a certified hearing healthcare professional and book an appointment for a hearing check-up.
Audiologist Reg. CASLPO. M.Cl.Sc. Aud (c)