Whether you are a regular at the audiologists office, or it’s your very first visit, there are some things your audiologist should tell you, but probably won’t.
Being diagnosed with a hearing loss can be a time of uncertainty for many people, and an audiologist has to be sensitive to that.
However, there are some things that an audiologist should be telling you so that you are better informed about your hearing needs.
1) You waited too long to get hearing aids
People with suspected hearing loss wait an average of 7 years before they decide to do something about it. That’s 7 years of reduced auditory stimulation and 7 years of brain reorganization.
Then comes the decision to start wearing hearing aids for the first time. Your brain again has to reorganize, and “learn” how to hear again.
When you wonder why the hearing aids don’t sound great, your audiologist should tell you why…you waited too long to do something about it and it’s going to take time to adapt.
2) You can buy hearing aids cheaper somewhere else
Yes, that’s right.
It’s no secret that you can “shop around” for hearing aids, and likely find them cheaper at places like Costco (or online) than you can at your audiologist’s office.
Your audiologist shouldn’t be afraid to tell you this because what you pay for at their office is the service, care, and expertise that you can’t get if you were to simply order them online.
A hearing aid is only as good as the person that is fitting it, so if you want to have a greater chance of success with your hearing aids, you will need to be willing to pay more to see the audiologist.
3) There are consequences to not getting hearing aids
Audiologists may avoid telling you that there are real-life consequences to not getting hearing aids because they don’t want you to think they are using “scare tactics” to get you to buy. But, they should be telling you that untreated hearing loss can lead to depression, anxiety, a greater risk of falls, memory loss, and even dementia. (hearing aids have been shown to slow cognitive decline and risk of falls)
When making a decision about what to do about your hearing loss, it is important to know the consequences of doing nothing.
4) Your hearing loss makes you look older than the hearing aids do
One of the most popular reasons people are resistant to wearing hearing aids when they need them is that they think they make them look old.
If your audiologist is willing to give you some tough love, they will tell you that your hearing loss makes you look older than your hearing aids would.
When you have a hearing loss, people will notice. You will seem disconnected from the world.
Others will notice that you are not engaged in the conversation or are having to ask them to keep repeating themselves. Your hearing loss is not invisible, but there are hearing aids that can be.
If this is your concern, your audiologist should tell you about some of the discreet or invisible hearing aid options.
5) Hearing aids will not fix your hearing loss
While hearing aids are an aid for better hearing, they do not reverse your hearing loss. When you take the hearing aids out, you still have a hearing loss.
It is important that your audiologist explains that hearing aids are not a magic pill for hearing loss and make sure you are setting realistic expectations for use of the hearing aids and develop additional communication strategies that can help.
Knowing when, where, and how to get help with your hearing loss can be very confusing. It is important that your hearing loss is not taken lightly by yourself or your audiologist.
Lindsey Banks, Au.D. is an editor at Everyday Hearing. She has experience working at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital, for a global hearing aid manufacturer, and currently as a Clinical Audiologist and Tinnitus Specialist at a multi-site Ear, Nose, and Throat practice.