Hearing Aids-to buy or not to buy?
There are so many confusing questions around buying hearing aids. Let's start, however, at the beginning. How do you know if your hearing loss even warrants a hearing aid? You go to the expert,right?
Sure, adults and kids alike go to to the audiologist who tests their hearing. They depend on this audiologist to explain the hearing test results , called an audiogram, and explain whether or not they have a hearing loss. General public also relies on the audiologist to recommend if they need a hearing aid or not.
Here is where the trouble begins. I have had students with moderate to severe hearing loss in both ears be told by their audiologist that they do NOT need hearing aids. I have seen adults who have a mild high frequency loss be told that they do need hearing aids... How do you know what is right?
In general, I would suggest you listen to the audiologist. You can even consider getting a second opinion. Ask why the audiologist thinks you do or do not need them. This is the important part. For children, language learning and concept mapping takes place during the early years of life. If you are wanting your children to become listeners and speakers, then it is important to get them aided early. In quiet, in a booth, children might be able to understand sounds and even words. It is more important to have your child tested in noise. This is when hearing and understanding breaks down. Many audiologist are not educational audiologist or pediatric audiologists. I encourage you to take your children to someone who has a good understanding of not just hearing loss, but also how hearing loss affects learning in a noisy classroom.
As for adults, again, if you can hear well in a quiet booth, have your audiologist test you in noise. Can you understand? Think about your job, your hobbies, your life..what do you do? If you are often lecturing in a quiet setting or working alone or even 1:1, you might not need hearing aids. However, if you enjoy dining out, attend conferences with many people, are a part of a large corporation where numerous staff sits at a table and "takes turns"(ie, interrupts each other) talking, you might need hearing aids.
Hearing aids are a big decision. Take time to think it over, ask for second opinions, and read up. Let me know what you decided.
6/11/2018 09:57:34 pm
We have aided 2 of our children since they were toddlers. I’ve been buying hearing aids for 2 for 23 yrs. why? Because they have progressive bilateral sensorineural hearing loss. We live in a hearing world. They had mild loss when diagnosed but knowing it was progressive meant they needed amplification to hear and understand so that as their loss changed they had a base to grow.
6/12/2018 07:00:56 pm
Joann, Thank you for your response. I agree, that if families want their children to use spoken language and benefit from their residual hearing, then hearing aids are a must. There are families who choose only to use ASL and I fully support them,as well. However, I am frustrated, as well, when families tell me they want their children to speak better and do better in school ,yet tell me that they allow their kids to take their hearing aids off or don't even get any. Families need education-I loved my role in the birth to three system, as I enjoyed educating and helping families see options and pros and cons of all. Thank you for all you do for families, as well.
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Allison Schley is a teacher of deaf and hard of hearing children. She took her passion for kids with hearing loss and became an author. She wants all children with hearing loss to know they are amazing and that hearing loss will not keep them from following their dreams.