Should I get hearing aids sooner, or later?

Time to read: 5 minutes or view the video below:

 

by Cara Sutton

My name is Cara and I'm part of our Value Hearing team. You may start to see my face pop up in a few videos and that's because I will be joining my fellow colleagues in producing some educational content for all of you.

So I thought I would upload a video just to give you some background as to who I am and just to have a discussion on a topic that I find to be important.

I qualified in Johannesburg, South Africa 13 years ago. I had my own private practice as a speech therapist and an audiologist; worked in London for a period of two years as an audiologist, and I've been based in Australia now for the last four years going on to five years. I'm based at our Joondalup clinic.

Happy old couple smiling in a park on a sunny day-1So a topic that I thought would be really interesting to discuss is motivation for hearing aids.

Every now and then, we will have someone come into our clinic. They'll be assessed and we'll determine that they have hearing loss, and after some discussion they decide that they feel that they're actually coping with their hearing levels and that they're not quite ready yet to be fitted with hearing aids.

We at Value Hearing are, of course, not here to force anyone to do anything, or to be pushy. We really feel that it is about you and you need to be ready and motivated. If you're not motivated, often the hearing aid journey will not be successful. 

So what I'm here to provide for you today is just some information as to why it's important to be fitted sooner rather than later.

We want to empower you with knowledge and so I think it's important that everyone does understand why it is so important to be fitted with those hearing aids as soon as you do have a hearing loss.

What happens with hearing loss is that your brain stops hearing those sounds. If you're not hearing them, your brain stops firing and stops creating those neural pathways that it would have been if your hearing was normal and what that is causing is auditory deprivation.

Now we of course don't want any deprivation to be happening to the brain.

This is important because studies have linked things like cognitive decline with hearing loss as well as dementia and Alzheimer's. That's not to say you're going to get that if you have hearing loss, however prevention is better than cure.

Equalizer sound wave background theme. Colour illustration.It's important to know that mentally, hearing loss can affect you too, so a lot of people find that they start to socially isolate themselves. They find that they're no longer as active in conversations; not participating as much as they previously were before. That can lead to things like loneliness and depression and just feeling completely isolated. which is not something we want people to be feeling at all.

As audiologists, I know we all feel strongly about giving people the best chance and the best quality of life.

Studies have shown that hearing aids can provide significant benefit. 

  • They improve self-esteem 
  • They often improve work productivity because you are now more comfortable within your workplace you may not be making as many mistakes because you've been mishearing things 
  • you feel that you can participate more in the workplace.

Hearing aids are so good because:

  • They reduce risk of falls 
  • They can protect you in your environment because you will be able to hear things like sirens or signals that you maybe previously weren't able to hear, and 
  • Generally speaking hearing aids improve your quality of life 

I often refer to hearing loss as a muscle that hasn't been exercised and it's based on a very similar kind of concept. If you're not exercising that muscle is going to start to waste and it's going to start to weaken.

Same thing with your brain. If you're not giving it that input that it should be receiving, those pathways stop working and it's important that you continue to stimulate your brain as much as you can to reduce any kind of deprivation.

So that's just a bit of information, just my two cents worth. Again, we are not here to pressure anyone or make anyone feel uncomfortable. We really just want to be empowering you with knowledge.