Hearing loss is one of the leading chronic health conditions in the United States. Globally, it’s an issue being watched by the World Health Organization (WHO), with more than 1.5 million people throughout the world living with hearing loss. That number is expected to climb to more than 2.5 billion people by the year 2050.
The WHO advocates for widespread treatment of this condition. After all, while most hearing loss is irreversible, it’s also highly treatable. In fact, almost 60 percent of the disability resulting from hearing loss could be diminished if every person who needed hearing aids, cochlear implants or assistive listening devices used them.
Because hearing health and treatment aren’t practiced by many of the people who have hearing loss, the process and adaptation process can be mysterious. But the transition into new hearing aids can be eased with a few simple reminders.
Why People Wait To Treat Hearing Loss
Cost and access are often cited as reasons people don’t intervene with hearing health solutions. However, one of the more common reasons people don’t immediately treat their hearing loss is because they aren’t aware that they’re living with the condition. Hearing loss is notoriously difficult to self-diagnose and many times, it is friends and family who notice changes in behavior first.
Common symptoms of early hearing loss often surround understanding what people are saying. Referred to as speech clarity, this might mean that it seems like everyone around you is mumbling their words. You may find yourself asking others to repeat what they said. Or, the volume levels on the television and radio have to be at maximum before dialogue can be understood.
Benefits Of Treating Hearing Loss
In 2020, the Lancet Commission released recommendations to reduce the impact of dementia and Alzheimer’s. Among these 12 lifestyle changes, treating hearing loss emerged as a crucial aspect of protecting cognitive function into the senior years. By choosing hearing aids or other solutions today, you greatly reduce your risk of a future dementia or Alzheimer’s diagnosis.
Moreover, the investment in hearing health pays off in the meantime. People who treat hearing loss tend to spend less in medical costs over a number of years. A study from Johns Hopkins estimated that people with untreated hearing loss pay more for medical care, to the tune of $22,434 over a decade.
4 Strategies To Smoothly Transition To New Hearing Aids
Pack your patience
Wearing your new hearing aids can feel effortful at first! Assuming that your hearing loss has been progressive getting worse over some time, the brain has become accustomed to receiving less sound information. Now, with new amplification and technology filling in previously missing sound gaps, the brain might feel overwhelmed.
For that reason, learning to hear with hearing aids can be a bit like learning to hear all over again. Recognizing that it won’t be an immediate success helps to prepare for the weeks or even months long period of adjustment.
Practice makes perfect
There is a correlation between how often people wear their new hearing aids at first and how satisfied they are with their investment down the road. This is because getting used to new hearing aids requires wearing them.
You can think of it as fitness for your hearing. Just as you would train a muscle group for increased strength and endurance, wearing hearing aids consistently for short durations at first and progressing into longer periods of wear will help to support the process of transition. Eventually, you’ll prefer the listening experience of hearing aids to those without.
Rome wasn’t built in a day. We call adjusting to new hearing aids a process because it takes a certain amount of time. It’s not in your best interest to push full steam ahead and suffer through discomfort. Take breaks when you need them! Both your ears and your brain will appreciate the silence of removing your hearing aids and taking time to restore.
Stay close to your audiologist
A prominent determining factor in whether people wear their hearing aids is comfort. If you find your new hearing aids to be uncomfortable, talk to your audiologist. Your audiologist will continue to make tweaks to your fit and settings along the way, so that the final result is both ease in listening and wearing your devices!