When buying hearing aids: 6 essential things to know

Lifestyle Saturday 23/December/2017 18:30 PM
By: Times News Service
When buying hearing aids: 6 essential things to know

There is information everywhere. But how do you sift through it and make sense of it all? And how do you know what is reliable and what isn’t? Sorting through the noise when buying hearing aids is no exception. Anyone who is ready to address their hearing loss keep these six points in mind:
1) Addressing hearing loss promptly and appropriately is important for health and quality of life. Research shows that hearing loss is linked to cognitive decline and dementia, depression, an increased risk of falls and hospitalisation, and greater health care costs. Hearing loss also is linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, moderate chronic kidney disease, obesity, sleep apnoea and rheumatoid arthritis, studies show.

2) Hearing loss is not a simple mechanical issue and cannot be remedied as easily as buying a pair of reader glasses at the grocery store. Hearing loss is a complex sensory loss. It involves brain function and frequency losses specific to the individual. Human hearing involves a multifaceted interplay between specific parts of the ears and brain.

3) Hearing aids need to be custom-fitted and programmed specifically for the individual so they correctly address those specific frequencies the individual has trouble hearing. The beauty of authentic hearing aids is that they’re tailored — through personalised fitting, programming and follow-up adjustments — to correctly address those specific frequencies the individual has trouble hearing. This gives the wearer the greatest benefit and ensures that the level of amplification is appropriate across the entire frequency spectrum. Follow-up hearing aid adjustments, along with training to help consumers adjust to amplification and re-learn how to hear and process sounds they had been missing, further increase user satisfaction.

4) Consumers need to be careful not to confuse hearing aids with Personal sound amplifiers (PSAPs), which simply turn up the volume — sometimes to dangerously high decibel levels — regardless of the individual’s specific hearing needs. Over-amplifying in this way may put the consumer at risk of greater hearing damage.

5) Seeing a hearing care professional is the best safety net for proper diagnosis and treatment. Going to a hearing care professional helps ensure that any underlying medical issue behind a hearing loss is identified and addressed. It also helps ensure that the person’s hearing loss is safely and effectively treated. Hearing care professionals — audiologists, hearing aid specialists and ENTs (Ear, Nose and Throat doctors or doctors of otology and otolaryngology) — are best suited to help consumers with hearing loss. Audiologists and hearing aid specialists are expressly trained in all aspects of hearing aids and amplification. Many work in practices with ENT doctors. They have the most appropriate and accurate equipment to give a precise read of an individual’s current hearing level.

6) Hearing aids are only sold by licensed hearing care professionals. The safest thing consumers can do for their hearing is to seek professional hearing health care advice from the start.