Hearing Healthcare | By Audiologist, Dr. Lydia Vincent Doty
How well do you hear?
According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communicative Disorders (NIDCD), approximately 15% of adult Americans, around 37.5 million people, report having difficulty hearing. Among this population, about 28.8 million could benefit from the use of hearing devices.
As an audiologist, my goal is to serve this community by providing hearing healthcare education, diagnostic testing, and rehabilitative opportunities such as hearing aids to address hearing loss.
When you begin to notice you are having difficulty hearing or communicating, the best thing you can do is discuss the issue with your primary care physician. A hearing evaluation may be recommended to establish a baseline, determining your hearing sensitivity.
It is important to be tested by an audiologist so that you get a truly comprehensive check. From start to finish you can expect a full review of your hearing healthcare history, visual inspection of your ear, diagnostic audiologic testing, a full review of the results, and recommendations going forward to address your hearing healthcare needs.
What happens if you find out you do indeed have a hearing loss?
Those two words weighing in the back of your mind . . . hearing aids! Regardless of age, hearing aids have a stigma attached to them that we cannot seem to overcome; it is thought that they are big, ugly, expensive, noisy, and uncomfortable.
Please do not let these old associations to hearing aids keep you from trying. Hearing aids are very small, discreet, and comfortable; they no longer squeal for no reason and come in various technology options that are at every price point.
Your audiologist will work with you to find the most appropriate style and technology at a price that is comfortable for you. The best part is that state law requires a trial to be given on hearing aids so you can wear them in your natural surroundings, this give you the opportunity to experience benefit from the devices you are getting.
If you or a loved one is struggling to hear family, friends, or even the television, there is no better time than now to get help. Research from the National Council on Aging shows that patients with untreated hearing loss suffer more depression, live with more negativity in relationships, socially isolate themselves, and pretend to understand what they hear.
Your brain processes everything that you hear and when you have a hearing loss, it makes it harder to hear and process leaving you tired of trying. Auditory deprivation, depriving your ears and your brain from hearing and processing sounds, has been shown to cause a greater decline in thinking abilities when compared to someone without hearing loss. A hearing aid trial takes only time and dedication toward bettering your hearing and possibly your life.
What should you know as a hearing aid consumer?
Hearing aids will not restore your hearing – they are an aid. Hearing aids are digitally programmed to your specific audiologic data to help you hear better where you need it.
Recently, the U.S. government passed a law that allows consumers to buy hearing aids over-the-counter (OTC) for adults with mild to moderate hearing loss. This allows them to buy hearing aids (regulated by the FDA) at a convenient slightly reduced rate; however, these devices do not come with guidance from an educated provider (audiologist) throughout the life of the device and are not made for every type of loss.
So, if you or a family member are having issues with any aspect of your hearing or struggle with communication, let your primary care physician direct you to an audiologist or contact our office and we will do our very best to help you hear better.
Join KSB Community Wellness and Dr. Lydia Vincent Doty for a lunch and learn on Hearing Health.
When: Tuesday, November 28th | 12:00 – 1:00pm
Where: KSB Lovett Center (former Midland States Bank)