Understanding your hearing and your hearing loss is so important. People often know other medical information, such as blood pressure or vision, but it seems like sometimes hearing is a mystery. And there's no reason why it needs to be. We believe in educating all our patients to be aware of how their hearing works, what their hearing loss means, and what they can do to treat it. That's why we go out in our community to explain these things to people in informational seminars, and it's why we are happy to answer all your questions when you come see us.
Here, we've gathered information that we hope will be helpful to our patients, as well as answers to questions we commonly hear.
Our patients sometimes come to us with an idea of what hearing aids used to be like, but modern hearing aids are like night and day by comparison. If you haven't seen or used hearing aids in recent years, you might be surprised by how far they've come! We'll show you demo models so you can see for yourself.
What are the kinds of hearing loss, and how are they treated?
Hearing loss can be split into three categories, each with its own treatment plan. When we give you a hearing test, we'll figure out what we can do to help you or if we should recommend that you see a medical professional.
Do I need to treat my hearing loss right away, even if it's mild?
It's important to be proactive with your health, and hearing loss is part of your health. Just as you wouldn't put off treating blood pressure or try to get by without glasses, you will be better served treating your hearing loss with hearing aids even if it's mild. You may be surprised by how much you've been missing! Also, the sooner you treat your hearing loss, the less chance there is that you'll lose your hearing understanding. If you don't use the part of your brain that registers certain sounds, that part may become less effective over time, meaning you may not be able to understand as clearly when you do eventually get hearing aids.
How do I support a family member with hearing loss?
The best thing you can do is to be patient and encouraging. Help keep track of what needs to be done to take care of the hearing aids, such as supplying fresh batteries and knowing how to tell which hearing aid goes in which ear. Also, remember that just because someone is wearing hearing aids doesn't mean that their hearing will be 100% what it used to be. Try to make things easier on them by getting closer to them during conversations, speak clearly, and let them see your face. We'll go over this advice and more if you can come with your loved one to their hearing appointment.
How do I take care of my hearing aids?
The most important thing is to keep them dry. In New England, we have worry about rain, sleet, and snow, and just be careful not to let your hearing aids get wet in the weather! Don't swim in them or go in the ocean wearing them. If you do decide to wear them in environments where you might get sweaty, such as yoga class, be aware that you'll need to have them repaired more often. Otherwise, just make sure you clean them regularly, change the wax guards, and bring them to us regularly for a thorough inspection and cleaning.
Will hearing aids really make a difference in my life?
Yes, hearing aids can seriously improve the quality of your life. They aren't miracle workers and they won't make you hear like you did when you were 20 years old, but they can really make a huge difference. When you hear better, it's easier to keep up in conversations and it's more comfortable to be involved in your favorite activities. If you've started withdrawing because of hearing loss, getting hearing aids can give you all of that back. That's why we love working in the hearing field — because we get to help people like you every day. Just give them a try and see what they can do for you.
Won't people see my hearing aids?
You'd be surprised! Often you can have a close personal conversation with someone and they'll never even notice you're wearing hearing aids. Modern hearing aids fit inside or behind your ears, and they are very subtle and hard to see.