Hearing loss, getting and then wearing hearing aids has been described as a hearing journey. Hearing loss is often gradual, it takes time to become aware of how hearing loss is affecting your day to day life. Accepting hearing loss and adjusting to the idea of managing hearing loss is a journey that has many rewards. Sometimes it takes time, some people choose not to complete their hearing journey. Those that do go through the process of hearing again are often surprised at how long they waited to take action. This page is a summary page of our blogs. The blogs will take you along the pathway from understanding what it means to have hearing loss to hearing again. Our first three blogs are about hearing loss, hearing aids and making your own decisions to get hearing aids.
For many people hearing loss begins gradually over time. Often we do not notice our hearing loss, even as it gets worse. It is our friends and family who point out that we do not hear as well as we once did. We do not notice our hearing loss because we adapt and adjust, we make accommodations and our hearing level is normal to us.
Having a diagnostic hearing assessment clarifies the type of hearing loss and helps us understand the possible cause and options for management. It can take time to come to terms with having hearing loss and making a decision to do something about it.
Well fitted hearing aids are a common way to help people hear better again; they bring clarity back to speech and make conversation easier. Often there is a stigma around getting hearing aids; people believe that only older people wear hearing aids or that hearing aids are very obvious. Hearing loss happens for people of all ages for many reasons. Current hearing aids are discrete, sophisticated technology; often a person’s hearing loss is more evident to others than the hearing aids themselves.
Making your own decision to get hearing aids
It is essential that once you decide to get hearing aids that you are choosing to get them to help yourself (rather than getting hearing aids because someone told you to). It is important that it is you that has decided to get hearing aids; that you are getting them because you know that hearing better will help you to hear conversations easily again. You want to be more involved in the world around you and be less tired at the end of the day. When you are ready to hear well again you will be in a positive frame of mind which will help you along the hearing journey to successfully adjust to hearing again.
Well… “Do you need hearing aids?” Hearing loss is common Many people wear hearing aids Have you noticed them? Hearing aids have changed significantly over the last few years
Brain hearing and effect of hearing loss on cognitive function
Understanding the effect of hearing on the brain and cognitive (thinking) function is a very active area of research; as hearing changes the pathways and auditory cortex (hearing areas) in the brain change too. When we start hearing again, these areas reactivate in regions that have been dormant, and it can take a bit of time to adjust to hearing sound again. Understanding the process of change as you hear sounds you have not heard for a long time is a critical element of the hearing aid fitting process. It is your Audiologist who will help you move along this path to hearing again.
We have known for many years that hearing loss can lead to isolation and depression, recently a clear connection between hearing loss and cognitive function has been established. When you have hearing loss it takes a lot more effort to communicate. As hearing loss increases that effort can become significant, to the point where people stop trying to engage. Listening effort takes up valuable brain resources; memory and cognitive function can suffer as a result. Read these articles for more information as to why this occurs.
If you have difficulty hearing you are not alone. Hearing loss is one of the most common health problems affecting 10% of New Zealanders. Effects of hearing loss include difficulty
Getting hearing aids and other hearing solutions
Hearing aids are not the only way to help with hearing loss; assistive listening devices may be a better option for some people. Once you have decided you want to hear better, we need to decide on the best solution for you. We do this by finding out about the listening situations you are in regularly and the areas where you want improvement. We create a set of listening goals that you would like to achieve when you can hear better. From there we choose the technology most suited to you to help you along your hearing journey.
What level of technology do you need to meet your needs?
Is control over the sound you are hearing important to you?
Would you prefer your hearing solution to adjust automatically?
Do you need to stream directly to your phone for phone calls, music or movies?
Will rechargeable batteries make the aids easier to manage for you?
Is a certain size or style of hearing aid influential for you?
Do you have a particular budget in mind?
Are sound quality and hearing performance your priority?
And of course, your hearing aids need to be fitted (customised) to your hearing and acoustics of your head shape – more details here
These blogs give some information about getting hearing aids or listening devices and some of these things to consider.
Battery sizes Size 10 batteries (yellow) Yellow labelled size 10 hearing aid batteries are used in the smallest hearing aids including Invisible in the canal (IIC), completely in the canal
ACC hearing aid funding and noise induced hearing loss
Accident compensation corporation (ACC) covered injury from accidents in NZ and has been active since 1974. If you have worked in a noisy job that may have contributed to a hearing loss, in New Zealand, you may be eligible for funding towards hearing aids. These blogs give more details about noise-induced hearing loss, the ACC scheme, how to apply for ACC and how to get batteries sent to you once you have your hearing aids.