Why your lifestyle — regardless of age — needs to be considered when selecting hearing aids
Ah, high-technology, consumer-oriented electronic devices. They’re everywhere we look in our daily lives. From the L.E.D. read-out timer-controlled automatic coffee maker to the hands-free cellular phone to digitally enhanced music and television systems, high-tech products are all the rage, enhancing our lives in ways that couldn’t have been imagined less than a generation ago.
And judging from some of the advertisements out there, one might get the impression that high-tech hearing aids are the end-all answer to communication difficulties for someone with hearing loss. People are bombarded with ads on hearing aids telling them that purchasing the latest and greatest from Brand ABC will make them immediately hear like they did when they were a teenager. Being good consumers, they research for hours on end, and then decide on a product with high expectations.
But for someone with hearing loss, taking that path is like trying to follow a map without directions or a compass.
That’s because the first step toward better hearing lies not in selecting a hearing aid, but rather in examining one’s lifestyle and listening needs.
Regardless of age, people have different lifestyles. While one person might lead a very active life, another seemingly similar individual might lead a more quiet life. If both have similar levels of hearing loss, should they both select the latest and greatest from Brand ABC? Of course not!
Instead of focusing on the hearing aid, one of the first things I like my patients to do is talk with me about their lifestyles and how that lifestyle is affected by their hearing and communication difficulties. Whenever possible, I also like to involve a spouse or significant life partner; oftentimes those close to the patient can offer helpful insight about their loved one’s difficulties as well as positive support.
Only after this communication process — coupled with a thorough audiological assessment — is complete, is it time to start discussing the appropriate level of hearing technology.
This is the path that will lead to successful use of today’s hearing aids…because hearing is a wonderful gift!
SIDEBAR – A Slice of Life (well, four of them, actually)
Following are four different lifestyle categories. Where do you fit in?
Active lifestyle: Characterized by a variety of video and audio entertainment, diverse restaurant dining, sporting events, outdoor activities, demanding careers, group participation, family gatherings, movies, driving, mall shopping, and church activities. Frequent background noise.
Casual lifestyle: Typically includes activities such as regular conversation, frequent television, quiet restaurant dining, small meetings, family gatherings, driving, shopping trips, movies, and weekly church services. Occasional background noise.
Quiet lifestyle: Often features one-to-one conversations, some television and radio, quiet shopping trips, and weekly church services. Limited background noise.
Very quiet lifestyle: Comprised of activities in and around the home, such as limited television, radio or recorded books, and small church services. Rarely includes background noise.