5 Things to Consider Before You Get Hearing Aids
We’ve come a long way since the giant banana boat hearing aids that we associate with the 80s and 90s. Technology has changed, and so have our expectations.
If you’re thinking about getting hearing aids or know someone who is thinking about getting them, there are a few things to consider. 1. They’re Unique to the Person Hearing aids are not a simple one-size-fits-all amplifier. Just like glasses, hearing aids are unique to the wearer and you must be tested by an audiologist to discover your own personal audiogram.
Some people experience low frequency hearing loss, while others have high frequency hearing loss, and both types affect people to varying degrees. This means that if two people switched devices, they probably wouldn’t do much good. 2. The Brain Needs to Adjust to New Input When you get a new pair of hearing aids, your mind must go through an adjustment period. Some sounds may seem completely changed from the normal ‘unaided’ sound you were used to.
Also, experiencing a large amount of sound that you’re not used to is overwhelming, and this can overstimulate the brain as it tries to organise the new sensory input.
The brain needs consistent stimuli to organise the signals to create words, sentences, and meaning. The brain won’t get the full benefit of the hearing aids if it is only getting sporadic exposure to sound.
Audiologists tell their patients that it is very important to wear their hearing aids consistently because in order to get the most out of hearing aids, practice makes perfect.
Those who use hearing aids every single day often report that their hearing aids become a natural extension of their hearing, because over time their brain has learned to interpret the new signals so that they sound natural. 3. Deciding to Wear Hearing Aids is a Personal Choice Some people choose to wear hearing aids, while others decide that they would rather not wear them because the negatives do not outweigh the positives, or their hearing loss is severe enough that it doesn’t allow them to benefit. It’s always important to respect that this is a personal choice. 4. Modern Hearing Aids Come with All Kinds of Assistive Features Hearing aids have made giant leaps in technological advancement – back in the 90’s many people would complain that their hearing aids sounded robotic and artificial, but these days audiologists have advanced their methods to allow a much more authentic experience of sound.
Modern hearing aids are often extremely small, and some models have the entire hearing aid hidden in the canal, so nobody would ever know you are wearing them without closer inspection.
Top-of-the-line hearing aids allow you to connect through Bluetooth to your phone or television, to allow the sound to travel directly into your hearing aids instead of losing precious detail due to it having to travel a further distance.
More environmentally friendly features have also been added in recent years. Rechargeable hearing aids are now available on the market, which removes the need to purchase expensive single-use batteries.
5. It’s Okay if Getting Hearing Aids Feels Like a Big Step
While it can be a scary decision to begin to wear hearing aids, they can make a huge difference.
Lily McManus, our Youth Ambassador, reflects on her experience: “The older you get without wearing your hearing aids the worse that your mental health will get, your anxiety creeps up, you realise you can’t hear things in social situations and you’re missing things. You need to wear your hearing aids… but I didn’t want to accept that responsibility.”
Lily McManus only began wearing her hearing aids when she started studying at university.
“I just put my hearing aids and started wearing them…it wasn’t easy. There were definitely a lot of emotions that I went through.”
Today, Lily swears by her hearing aids. She wears Phonak Marvel hearing aids, which have a lot of functionality, including blue-tooth connectivity. They’re so low profile that you’d have to look twice to notice she’s wearing them.
Lily’s decision to wear hearing aids when she started university was a brave step, but she’s never looked back. She hopes by sharing her experience others will feel empowered to embrace the benefits of wearing hearing aids.
If you think you may have a hearing loss and could benefit from hearing aids, we recommend that you contact a local audiologist.
Many audiologists offer initial hearing screenings for free. Booking a free hearing check is a great first step to learn more about your hearing, and an opportunity to discuss which hearing aids would be best for you.