In most cases, hearing loss comes on gradually. Over time many learn coping mechanisms, such as turning up the TV louder, reading lips or avoiding situations that become difficult to hear and understand. Often, the people closest to us are the first to notice there may be a problem. In Ellen’s case, she felt “too busy working to squeeze in her hearing.” Her husband Rich talked to Ellen and encouraged her to act. The result? A very simple yet transformative treatment that keeps Ellen fully engaged in her successful real estate career and in her family and social life.
Ellen admits that her hearing difficulty lasted far too long without help, estimating the time to be between five to six years before speaking with a professional. Her first signs of hearing loss were having to turn the TV up beyond her normal volume, not being able to hear the rain on her roof at night or wind in the trees, believing her husband was mumbling and, worst of all, not being able to understand her grandchildren in certain situations. While Ellen used to be able to hear every movement of her own children in the house, she was now worried about her grandchildren spending the night and not knowing if they got out of bed. Rich played a big role in realizing the daily sounds that Ellen could not, such as her cellphone ringing in the next room. His concerns grew if he and Ellen were apart, and he was worried that she wouldn’t be able to hear her phone if he or a client called. Finally, Ellen agreed to schedule a consultation and thorough hearing examination from a nearby audiologist.
At the initial appointment, Ellen was impressed with the time and thoughtfulness of the audiologist. He listened to her concerns, and she asked questions prepared prior to her appointment. Following a hearing test in a soundproof booth, her audiologist explained her audiogram, a graph showing her ability to hear at different decibels levels (intensity of sound) and frequencies (pitch of sound). Because hearing health is as unique as a fingerprint, an audiogram can indicate which treatment option will best suit the patient’s needs. He offered hearing aids at different price points and in different colors and recommended a certain type of hearing aid that he thought would be most beneficial to Ellen’s hearing. After Ellen made her selection, her audiologist spent time explaining the technology, fit and function: how to properly fit it in the ear, volume functions, and how to use the app for discreet adjustments.
In her own words, Ellen’s impression of hearing aids prior to her visit was “so wrong” and vastly changed when she saw how sleek, advanced, and incredibly discreet the technology is today. The only concern that Ellen had was the size of the dome (tip of the hearing aid that goes into the ear canal) due to her small ear canals. She could feel some discomfort when she was first fit with the initial set of domes. The audiologist was able to immediately adjust them to a smaller dome size which was more suitable for Ellen. As a “discerning shopper”, Ellen said she would have never been able to have this transformative experience without the help of a professional knowing what to do, how to do it, and being extremely knowledgeable about the technology functions for her needs.
Ellen’s use of hearing aids at home and work has brought a new energy to her daily activities. She noticed the void she was living in now that sounds have come back into her life, such as the birds singing in her backyard, clear communication with Rich, interacting with her clients, and of course conversation with her beloved grandchildren.
“It’s wonderful not to have to ask people to repeat…I’m so happy to hear again.”
If you or a loved one is delaying getting help for hearing loss, remember that you usually don’t know how much you are missing until your hearing is regained. This can lead to healthier physical and mental well-being and can cause you to feel less exhaustion after daily activities that you once loved. Ellen’s advice is simple. “You don’t have to be missing out and struggling.”
If you need help, take a quick online hearing screening or contact a nearby licensed hearing care professional today to set up a consultation and understand the options available at various price points.