Can You Hear Me Now?
Author: Lane Keating
Hearing loss affects more than 48 million people in the United States making it the third most common chronic condition among the elderly. However, the high cost of hearing aids and the lack of access to qualified hearing professionals keeps many people from using what can be life-altering devices. The consequences of this can be staggering. Hearing loss can cause social isolation by making it difficult to stay connected to, not only family and friends but also to people in the community. Safety issues such as falling and the inability to hear emergency vehicles and instructions can be life-threatening.
So, what can be done about it? The first place to start is by seeking a thorough evaluation by a qualified hearing professional. They can not only do the screening but will discuss your lifestyle, hobbies, and career, and work to understand your priorities and expectations. Hearing aids can’t completely restore normal hearing or eliminate all background noise, but they can improve the quality of your life (and those around you) by amplifying soft sounds and reducing loud background noises.
Consider other hearing products. In conjunction with hearing aids, there are assistive devices that can remove some of the distracting background noise and bring the relevant sound closer to the listener. Neck loops and wireless systems can be installed in rooms to help transmit sounds directly to people wearing hearing aids.
The financial aspects of hearing aids are changing. Some companies have changed the way hearing aids are sold, thus helping to reduce the cost. Unbundling the price from additional (often unneeded) services can bring the price down dramatically. Also, as technology has improved, fewer visits for adjustments are needed further reducing the price. Be sure to check with your insurance plan, including employer-sponsored and Medicare Advantage which may cover some or all the costs.
Last, but not least, enter the world of hearing aids with an open mind, realistic expectations, and a positive attitude. Technology has come a long way in this field and with the help of a qualified hearing professional your life can be more satisfying and less stressful.