By Elizabeth Brassine, Au.D.
From the moment we wake up to the time we go to sleep, sound plays an important role in our lives. Whether it’s alerting us to danger, delivering needed information, or making us simply laugh, smile or cry, sound informs, entertains, and connects us to the world. Consequently, when we experience hearing problems and begin to lose this vital sense, and eventually, most of us do, we also begin to lose those connections and diminish our ability to be engaged, entertained, and informed. It’s not uncommon to hear people who suffer from hearing impairment say it impacts their “quality of life.”
The sooner we seek treatment for hearing problems, the more successful we’ll be at slowing the negative social, psychological, cognitive, and health effects that come with it. Once you suspect your hearing has declined, it’s time to take action. The next step is to seek out a hearing care professional who will give you a thorough evaluation including a lifestyle discussion. Your audiologist will show you the best solutions to fit your unique needs and lifestyle.
Did you know that the single biggest contributor to a successful outcome of hearing aid use is the professional? According to one large study (MarkeTrak VIII), the professional, along with the clinical protocol they use, makes a bigger difference to success with hearing aids than the technology itself. Also, in focus studies completed by the Hearing Industries Association and those reported in Consumer Reports, the success or satisfaction (or as it’s called delight in the studies) of hearing aid usage was found not to be related to the type of loss, style of hearing aid, type of payment, or referral source but due to the hearing care professional themselves. Specifically, the consumers reported the following items as things that audiologists did that led to “delight” with their hearing aids: assume that the patient had little or no prior information, offer educational information on hearing loss and causes of loss, explain how the hearing aids work, discuss which hearing aids would be more appropriate for a given person and reasons why, see patients routinely for follow up appointments, provide explanations of first week experiences, and what to expect. If you’re concerned about your hearing, visit your audiologist today!
Dr. Liz Brassine is an audiologist the owner of Hearing Services of McKinney. You may reach her at 972-838-1300.