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11 Reasons to Consider Hearing Aids NOW

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  1.  Your family and friends will appreciate not having to strain their voices or repeat for you (as often).
  2. You are more likely to hear warning sounds like a fire alarm, a car horn, or someone’s footsteps approaching.
  3. It can reduce anxiety and stress to not have to strain and focus so hard on understanding what people are saying.
  4. Hearing loss almost always continues to get worse (except in some rare cases), so waiting for things to get better is really not an option.
  5. Wearing a hearing aid can significantly protect your cognitive ability to understand words. Wearing hearing aids keeps your brain stimulated.
  6. Wearing two aids or wearing an aid on one side with a unilateral  hearing loss, can help you sense the direction of sounds, improving your balance.
  7. Untreated hearing loss has been linked to dementia.
  8. Untreated hearing loss has been linked to depression and introversion.
  9. Untreated hearing loss can cause you to misunderstand words. This can lead you to miss appointments, to meet at the wrong place, and can cause disagreements and conflict between family members.
  10. Tinnitus, a catch-all term for ringing in the ears or a sound that isn’t actually occurring in your environment, can be soothed and even masked by a hearing aid.
  11. The sounds you miss today are forever gone. Your grandchild’s whisper, the birds on your back patio, the punchline of the joke at dinner.

Have more reasons to add? Leave them in the comments below!

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Hi! I’m Madison. I’m working towards becoming a Hearing Instrument Specialist ( like my mother ). I’m observing, learning, absorbing and sharing as I become a part of this beautiful community. I want to know you! So please leave me comments if my posts are meaningful to you or teach you something new, and feel free to tweet me at @InMyGoodEar!

Cheers!

 

 

For further reading:

AARP: Hearing Loss Linked to Dementia

American Academy of Audiology: Untreated Hearing Loss Linked to Depression, Social Isolation In Seniors

Mayo Clinic: Tinnitus

 

 

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“Aren’t you wearing a hearing aid?! Why can’t you hear me?”

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Have you had a friend or family member say this to you? Have you said or thought this when talking to someone that you know has a hearing aid??

This week in my office, I had a woman break down in tears as she explained to me how frustrated she felt when her family said these exact phrases to her. I had inherited this patient, so this was my very first chance to counsel her on her type of hearing loss and what she should and could expect from her hearing aids. A look at her chart told me that we had more than doubled her understanding of speech from 32% to 72%.  Wow, what an increase, yet she will still miss 3 out of 10 words.

It is a common misconception that getting a hearing aid is the total extent of hearing rehabilitation. Pop one on and you are back to “20/20″ hearing. I can’t tell you how much I wish this were the case. A hearing aid is only one piece of hearing rehabilitation. It may need to be bolstered by lip-reading, watching other body language clues, asking the speaker to slow down or speak up, reducing environmental noise, using additional assistive devices and even by strengthening auditory cognition through brain-teaser games. ASHA, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, has great resources to learn more.

Use my mom‘s 10 Commandments the Hearing Impaired Wish You Knew to open the conversation and help educate your family and friends on your hearing limitations. It’s a quippy little guide with tips like, “Thou shalt not speak to the listener from another room”.

benefit not perfection

Having a little grace, forgiveness and patience with those that don’t quite understand what you are going through is the best way to handle those seemingly careless comments. Educating them in the same way that your hearing care provider educated you will help close the gap in that understanding. If you are being proactive in seeking hearing rehabilitation and by wearing a  hearing aid then I AM PROUD OF YOU! I’d love to hear how you relate to this post, or how you have gotten family or friends to come around and be a little gentler with you when talking about your hearing loss.

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Hi! I’m Madison. I’m working towards becoming a Hearing Instrument Specialist ( like my mother ). I’m observing, learning, absorbing and sharing as I become a part of this beautiful community. I want to know you! So please leave me comments if my posts are meaningful to you or teach you something new, and feel free to tweet me at @InMyGoodEar!

Cheers!

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Ten Commandments the Hearing Impaired Wish You Knew

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My mother (a hearing instrument specialist at Baker Hearing Aids in Macon, GA) has a big stack of these commandments by the door of her office and suggests that her clients take as many copies as they would like so they can give them to friends and family! Just because someone’s hearing is being improved by a hearing aid, it does not necessarily mean that they will be able to now hear everything in the “normal” hearing range. The method of hearing loss, the duration of the loss, the extremity of the loss and many, many more factors may help us drastically improve hearing, while still leaving much to be desired.

For example (completely hypothetical numbers), a client could find that they only understand 2 out of every 10 spoken words in a hearing test at “normal” volume. Perhaps with their specific range of loss, with good hearing aid programming and amplification, they are able to understand 8 out of 10 words. That is a HUGE improvement! One that will absolutely prove life altering, however, family and friends have to be understanding and patient as this person will still miss an average of 2 out of every 10 words. Now if this person can see your body language and read your lips they may get full understanding. Read these commandments so that you can do everything possible to support your hearing impaired friend and can improve their participation in the conversations of life.

 

Ten Commandments

 Update: Here is a bonus 11th commandment from Marigold, ”Thou shalt not assume. Anyone can be hearing-impaired, at any age, whether they wear any sort of Hearing Instrument or not.”

Do you have another commandment to add to the list? Do you wish your family and friends knew these rules? Feel free to share this list through all the social buttons at the top and bottom of the page :)

 

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Hi! I’m Madison. I’m working towards becoming a Hearing Instrument Specialist ( like my mother ). I’m observing, learning, absorbing and sharing as I become a part of this beautiful community. I want to know you! So please leave me comments if my posts are meaningful to you or teach you something new, and feel free to tweet me at @InMyGoodEar!

Cheers!

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Grieving Hearing Loss

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Have you grieved your hearing loss?

On twitter this week, I saw several comments about the emotions of mourning, missing, and accepting hearing impairment. We are only born with five senses, and no bones about it, to lose one of them partially or completely can be traumatic.

I currently have hearing in the normal range, but I can most certainly empathize with feelings of grief. I experienced a different kind of loss, when my fiancé passed away unexpectedly in 2009 ( I rarely share this information anymore, but perhaps this is part of my catharsis too). Losing a person that you feel is a part of you could be similar to losing a physical ability. You must form new habits under these new conditions. Assumptions you held about life, living, friends, and even your own plans and goals, must be reevaluated as your mind works to create a new understanding of what your life will be.

6-6-hearing-web-gfxOf course the method of hearing loss will affect your emotions surrounding it, as a sudden loss may illicit very different emotions than a gradual loss. In my own grief journey, I have not found the much-talked-about “five stages of grief” to be true. My truth has been that there might be stages, but you may go through more or less than someone else. You may go through them in a very different order than other people. Most importantly, you have to do what is best for you! Not one person on this earth has lived your life and can tell you the perfect way to handle your situation. In fact, perhaps you aren’t grieving your hearing loss at all. It may just seem like a fact of life that you want to take in stride. That’s ok too! 

Here is a simple truth: Your new reality doesn’t have to be a worse reality.

There is a HUGE community of people who have hearing loss just like you! Did you know that nearly 1 in 5 people have hearing loss? But how about some similar numbers, that only 1 in 5 people who could be helped by hearing aids actually seek help. And this one is sad but not unexpected: on average people will wait roughly ten years with hearing loss before seeking help. This is especially dangerous as the phrase “use it or lose” can mean that untreated hearing loss can go so long that your brain has difficulty distinguishing clear sounds, even with amplification. If you are concerned about this, just research auditory deprivation. You must be emotionally ready to get help, but please don’t take too long! When you take your fear of stigma, judgement, agism, and loss, and you put it aside to step into the open, you will experience so much more acceptance and support than you imagined.

ColoredHearingAidsEmbrace your new techy toy and order the neon green hearing aid! I can see Twitter is alive with people discussing, contemplating and encouraging each other in this journey. Just search hashtags like #Hearingaids #Hearingloss #Hearing #Sound #Deaf and many more keywords (or click on my links), to find conversations to jump into.

I am joining the community of those with hearing loss as an outsider, a newbie, and to some, perhaps even a “young’n”! The more I learn, the more that I want to facilitate discussion on some of the harder and more emotional issues that come with hearing loss.

“One of the most valuable things we can do to heal one another is listen to each other’s stories.” – Rebecca Falls

So I wonder, have you grieved?

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Hi! I’m Madison. I’m working towards becoming a Hearing Instrument Specialist ( like my mother ). I’m observing, learning, absorbing and sharing as I become a part of this beautiful community. I want to know you! So please leave me comments if my posts are meaningful to you or teach you something new, and feel free to tweet me at @InMyGoodEar!

Cheers!

 

 

Sources:

http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/statistics/Pages/quick.aspx

http://journals.lww.com/thehearingjournal/Pages/InformationforConsumers.aspx 

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hearing-loss/DS00172 

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