I know I have a Hearing Loss … But I Don’t Want Hearing Aids!
Then, imagine you went to the eye doctor and were told you had a vision problem. What would you do? Would you try to improve your vision with either glasses or contact lenses? The chances are you would.
But what if, instead of your vision, we were talking about your hearing? If you had a problem, would you do something about it?
Unfortunately, many people wouldn’t.
In a survey conducted by Sergei Kochkin, of the Better Hearing Institute, it was found that people generally wait seven years after diagnosis of hearing loss to pursue hearing aids.
Why the delay?
The progress of hearing loss is often so gradual that many people don’t realize the impact until the situation becomes quite severe. They’ve been compensating for years, but those techniques are just not working anymore. I’ve had many patients tell me that they think they’re doing fine, but they’ve come to see me because their family members think otherwise. “They just need to stop mumbling,” is a common complaint. But are they mumbling, or has the hearing loss finally reached a critical point?
Some patients are concerned that everyone will know that they’re wearing hearing aids. While this may be true, even though they’re smaller and more discreet than ever, I’ve always thought that a hearing loss is much more noticeable and negative than hearing aids. But over the past 20 years my practice has successfully fit thousands patients with hearing aids. So maybe I’m a bit biased!
Many people are concerned that hearing aids will make them look old. I’ll refer again to the above and add that saying, “What?” all the time also makes you look old, and it frustrates the people who are trying to communicate with you.
I have had hearing aid patients of all ages, from a few years old to over 100 years old. Hearing aids are for anyone who needs them, regardless of age.
Cost is certainly a concern for many patients.
Will insurance cover hearing aids?
This is a complicated question, as there are many types of insurance, each with different benefits. The best thing to do is to call your insurance company and ask what your hearing aid benefit is, if any. If you don’t have a benefit, it’s helpful to know that there are a range of instruments available, and they typically fall into three broad categories: entry level, mid-level and advanced. What will work best for you depends largely on your lifestyle. The more active you are and the more often you are in complex listening environments (background noise, multiple talkers, etc.), the more you will appreciate the higher level technology and the brain support it provides. Also, keep in mind that it isn’t a good idea to save money by only getting a single high level hearing aid if you are prescribed two. Get the left and the right, and if you need to save money, get a lower-level hearing aid. The benefits of wearing two hearing aids outweigh the increase in technology level.
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