How hearing aids can transform your quality of life

How hearing aids can transform your quality of life

From strengthening relationships to enhancing safety, the impact of
hearing aids can be far-reaching

Acknowledging the deterioration of your hearing is a tough thing to grapple with. For some, it conjures feelings of shame and embarrassment – as if it’s a sign of weakness or ageing. These emotions are natural, of course, but completely unfounded. In fact, hearing loss is an oft-misunderstood condition, despite its prevalence.

These days, there’s no need to accept the condition as a permanent sentence. Advances in technology and scientific understanding of the human ear have culminated in hearing devices that have completely transformed the lives of sufferers. A 2007 study published in medical journal Hippokratia, found that 80% of participants with bilateral sensorineural hearing loss reported “significant benefit[s] from hearing aid use.” Their findings demonstrated a clear trend between patients with bilateral hearing loss who use binaural hearing aids and a higher quality of life. 

So, how can a small, in-ear device change a person’s life for the better? Here are six of the most significant ways:

1. Strengthens relationships

One of the most common by-products of hearing loss is social isolation. Without the ability to communicate freely and easily, affected people can begin to feel detached from their loved ones. It may start small, like missing parts of a conversation or struggling to chat on the phone. But over time, these feelings of frustration can cause sufferers to withdraw from social interaction and snowball into significant mental health problems like depression.

Hearing aids work to fill these crucial gaps in communication, facilitating stronger relationships between those with hearing impairment and the people around them.

2. Improves cognitive function

Research into the impact of hearing loss on brain function is ongoing, but studies have demonstrated an undeniable correlation. In 2017, a collection of cohort studies into hearing loss was analysed, whereby participants with either mild cognitive impairment or alzheimers were examined by scientists. This meta-analysis of over 15,000 patients found that hearing impairment was associated with a greater risk of mild cognitive impairment and dementia. A number of factors are thought to impact the onset of these conditions in those with hearing loss, but three of the most prevalent theories include: brain cell shrinkage from lack of stimulation, social isolation leading to less brain stimuli and heavy cognitive load due to a constant strain to understand speech and sound. 

The use of hearing aids essentially addresses all of these potential causes of mental impairment; they stimulate your mind, enable interaction with others and take some of the cognitive strain off your brain.

 

3. Bolsters financial independence

The impacts of hearing loss on a person’s life can be far-reaching. A key area which is commonly overlooked is earning potential. The inability to hear well and communicate effectively can lead individuals to retire prematurely, miss out on career growth opportunities, have their income restricted or even become excluded from the workforce entirely. A 2006 report by Access Economics supports this conclusion; in Australia, the rate of employment for those with hearing loss was 11% lower than the general population. 

The good news? Many with hearing difficulties can be aided by hearing devices, thereby allowing them to participate in the workforce and gain – or retain – financial independence.

4. Enhances safety and wellbeing

Hearing, much like health in general, is incredibly easy to take for granted. For most people, it’s not until they begin to experience difficulties that they typically grasp how important the sense is in their daily life. Without the ability to hear everyday hazards, from speeding cars to fire alarms, your personal safety could be at risk. You’re also far less likely to be able to reliably identify where danger is coming from.

While hearing aids aren’t miracle devices, they can typically enhance a wearer’s hearing to the point of perceiving danger, therefore improving their personal safety.

 

5. Contributes to ongoing physical health

In some instances, such as exposure to loud sounds, hearing impairment is simply a by-product of circumstances. But in many cases, it’s either a signal of other morbidities – such as diabetes – or the cause of further complications like depression, anxiety and heart disease. So, whether minor or severe, a loss of hearing should never be ignored.

6. Complements lifestyle choices

Do the words ‘hearing aid’ trigger images of your grandparent’s bulky ear piece that used to emit high-pitched feedback at random intervals? Thankfully, technology has come a long way over the last several decades. Just like televisions keep getting clearer and phones become smarter, hearing aids have evolved with the times, too.

Modern hearing aids are sleek and practical, enabling wearers to live active lives. Some are practically invisible, sitting right inside the ear like an earbud. The only thing that changes when you invest in your aural health is your ability to hear.

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Essential Considerations Before Buying a Hearing Aid

Essential Considerations Before Buying a Hearing Aid

Have you finally decided to purchase a hearing aid? If so, what are your concerns before buying? Some people are not interested in the preparation phase of treating their hearing loss. They immediately purchase the device, which is not advisable, especially if your hearing situation is significantly affecting the quality of your life.

A hearing aid is not a universal device, just as most medical assistive machines. Hearing aids today have different levels of technology which are dedicated to distinct types of hearing loss. Hearing specialists consider factors such as the severity of the hearing impairment in determining the frequency to be programmed. Aside from that, patients can also customise the size, look, and comfort of their personal hearing aid.

Before anything else…

This article has these two assumptions as you are reading this: You have already talked to your audiologist, or you are going to. If not, you must. According to Australia’s Department of Hearth, more than 1.3 cases of hearing problems could have been prevented.

Certified hearing specialists or audiologists must be in charge of prescribing your hearing device. They will diagnose the kind of hearing loss you have, and they will plan the best course of action for it.

Now, the questions…

After consulting an audiologist, styles of hearing aids are laid out for you to choose. You don’t have to decide immediately. Invest enough time and effort to gather all the information you can get so you don’t waste money.

Here the critical questions to ponder which will determine the perfect hearing aid for you:

 What is my lifestyle?

Health consultant from Monkeyfoodz, David Wilson says, “working out regularly and watching your diet are important aspects of maintaining your ear health. While most people believe that hearing loss happens naturally due to aging, certain nutritional patterns and physical activities may decrease your risk of developing loss of hearing. 

Observe your daily activities. Does it require you to expose yourself regularly in a setting full of noise? Is your occupation heavily reliant on people’s speech? Create a list of activities that comprise most of your day, and your plans for the future, as well. Digital hearing aids today have background noise removal features that fit individual patient’s needs. Describe your everyday listening situations to your audiologist so they can suggest the most suitable device for you.

What should my hearing aid look and feel like?

Comfort is always paramount when choosing hearing aids. There are standard and custom-made devices. When trying hearing aids, feeling a little different and sweaty due to unfamiliarity is fine. But if you feel an itch, pain, or rubbing sensation, tell your audiologist right away.

You can also specify its appearance. Do you want a tubing inside your ear? Or attaching it on the back is enough? Do you want a specific colour to match your skin tone? If you are conscious about these attributes, then make sure to clarify it with your hearing specialist.

Do you want connectivity to external devices such as smartphones and TV?

On the surface, it seems like there is no reason to turn down this wireless innovation. However, it still depends on you. If your hearing device has Bluetooth capabilities, it’s possible to stream movies and shows directly from your TV. Some still prefer the old school types, as they want simplicity and precise controls.

Am I financially ready to purchase and maintain hearing aids?

The typical lifespan of a standard hearing aid is five years. Also, be wary of the warranty of your device. Some plans offer a trial period, as well. Here at Ear and Hearing Australia, we provide hearing assessment and rehabilitation to pensioners and veterans. Explore the financial plans of your desired hearing clinic and carefully balance the options. Always remember that hearing aids is a lifetime commitment.

Researching on your own is fine, but can sometimes be a drag, especially with the digital advent of false claims everywhere. Hearing aids cannot fully restore your hearing, stay away from advertisements that say otherwise.

For hearing problems assistance, reach us by requesting an appointment through our website. We welcome all kinds of inquiry about hearing and communication.

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