Do you fake how well you hear?
If you’re honest with yourself, do you find it difficult to follow a conversation? There are no brownie points for concealing you have a hearing problem, and absolutely no reason to suffer in silence. The important thing to remember is that hearing loss can be helped, and not to do so can endanger other areas of your health.
Hearing loss can happen for any number of reasons and isn’t just a by-product of aging. The causes vary widely from problems processing the sounds you do hear, to noise-related damage to the delicate inner ear. But if you have a suspicion your hearing is impaired, it’s up to you to take that first step.
Visit your Physician
If you’re not sure where to start, one option is to visit your physician. They will check your ears for an excessive build up of wax and look for signs of infection. The physician asks questions about the nature of your hearing difficulties, and based on your answers, they can either refer you to an ENT specialist (aar, nose, and throat) or suggest you visit an audiologist.
Visit the Audiologist
An audiologist has studied extensively in all aspects of hearing health and hearing loss. As well as being able to test your hearing, they can also make assessments of medical problems affecting your hearing such as tinnitus (constant intrusive ringing in the ears).
The audiologist runs a thorough hearing test. There are different types of hearing loss, such as those affecting high, middle, or low-pitched sounds, and the pattern of the problem can indicate certain causes. For example, loss of low-pitch only is linked to an increased chance of early cardio-vascular disease. Thus, if certain patterns are picked up, specific action may be recommended, such as seeing a heart specialist.
What Else Happens at a Hearing Exam?
The audiologist analyzes the results and discusses them with you. If your hearing is particularly poor, consider taking a friend or family member along to help you understand what’s said.
If hearing aids are appropriate, the audiologist will discuss the options available and take a mold of your ear. You are then asked to come back a week or two later to have the device fitted.
What Happens at a Hearing Aid Fitting?
The audiologist fits and programs your device to provide the right help for your hearing. In addition, you’re shown how to clean the device, take it in and out of the ear, and change the batteries.
Is that It?
Well, not quite. Most audiologists follow up about 12 weeks later to check that everything is going okay and that you are receiving the benefit you both intended. In addition, sometimes it helps to re-learn listening skills, which is something your audiologist is skilled to help you with. This is kind of “hearing rehabilitation” helps you get used to coping with the now-unfamiliar intrusion of background noise and strengthen your brain for listening.