I’ve been asked by some of you to use a larger font so I hope this newsletter is easier on the eyes!
I’d like to revisit the idea of realistic expectations with hearing aids. Anyone that has come into my office knows that I will never promise perfection with hearing aids. I will always tell you that hearing aids help; they do not restore normal hearing function. Unfortunately, hearing loss is not a passive disability. By that, I mean that you as the person with the hearing aids have to make an effort to improve your communication environment and your loved ones have to make an effort also.
Here’s an example: you are watching television in your TV room (with or without your hearing aids). Your wife/husband/significant-other/aide is in the kitchen. The water is running. Your back is to the kitchen. The person in the kitchen says “Dinner is ready” and you don’t move or respond. What happens next? Does the other person realize you didn’t hear them and come into the room to get your attention and then you eat your dinner? All is good. Alternatively, does the person now yell at you that dinner is ready and “don’t you have your hearing aids on and why aren’t you listening?” Now you’re embarrassed and angry and they are aggravated and dinner just doesn’t taste good now. Wouldn’t it be better for the other person to have taken 30 seconds to get your attention? A simple calling of your name is typically sufficient. Our brains are not designed to be able to listen equally to different sound sources. Hearing aids cannot improve what our brains do naturally.
Here’s another scenario: You have your hearing aids on and you’re in the back seat of the car. The air conditioning and radio is on and the person in the front seat is speaking but is looking out the passenger window. Should you be able to understand what is being said?
These might seem to be extreme “over-the-top” examples but I hear versions of this every day. We have a card in the office that lists strategies for improving communication. We like it because it illustrates the need for all people to actively work at facilitating good communication. This information is all over the internet and we talk about it in the office. The bottom line is even with normal hearing, no one hears “perfectly” all the time. Hearing aids cannot restore normal hearing. That being said, today’s technology is amazing and we can improve your lives but not without your understanding about the limitations of that technology.
Another struggle I hear about every day is the television. This is another place where hearing aids can help but there are other factors which cause you not to understand the program. The hearing aid manufacturers have developed Bluetooth equipment to bridge that gap but not everyone wants to purchase extra equipment. Closed captioning works quite well but it is a skill you have to develop and if your vision is also impaired, you still struggle. There are soundbars you can attach to the television to help send the sound into the room towards you instead of to the sides of the room. I recently posted an article on our Facebook page that addressed the issue of “mumble acting” where actors intentionally mumble as part of their acting style. Click on this link to read the article here.
I love today’s hearing aids. There is a hearing aid for everyone. There are hearing aids that will connect to your cell phone; there are hearing aids that will connect to your television; there are hearing aids that are rechargeable; there are hearing aids built out of titanium and are virtually indestructible; there are hearing aids that can book your next flight to visit the grandkids (just kidding!). Bottom line, with careful consideration of your hearing loss, your living situation, your needs and your budget, there should be a hearing aid for just about everyone. Just remember no hearing aid is perfect just as nobody is perfect.
We are also saying good-bye and good luck to Connie Beckett. She is moving to Pennsylvania to be closer to her son and grandchildren. We will miss her!
Audiology with a Heart
2324 S. Congress Ave, Suite 2G
Palm Springs, FL 33406
All dates and events are subject to change. Please call the office for an appointment! Now that we are in the summer season, the office might not be open every day all day. We do not want you to make a wasted trip so please call first.