How do I know when I need hearing aids?
By, Margaret Christiansen, Au.D
At first thought, this seems like it would be an easy answer… you need hearing aids when you have trouble hearing. In reality, this is a question many people ponder.
For most individuals, hearing loss occurs very gradually, over the course of many years. Because of the slow nature of these changes, hearing difficulties can creep up on a person. You forget the sounds you used to hear or what things are “supposed” to sound like. People develop strategies to help compensate for changes in their hearing. They watch people’s lips, turn the television up, ask people to slow down, and avoid noisy situations just to name a few.
While these compensation strategies are important and helpful, at some point they aren’t enough. Relying on compensation strategies to help follow conversations takes significant mental energy and concentration. It takes more time to piece together what someone is saying which is why it can feel like people are talking faster than they should. When strategies to piece together what is said inevitably fail, it leaves you having to ask for repetition or causes you to misunderstand what is being said.
Below are some questions to consider regarding your hearing…
Do you feel people mumble?
Do you feel you can hear but not understand?
Do you have difficulty following conversations in background noise?
Do you have to ask for repetition?
Do you have to turn up the television volume?
If you answered yes to several of these questions, consider seeing an audiologist for a complete hearing evaluation. Obtaining a baseline hearing test will help you better understand your hearing. You will receive information about the severity of your loss as well as recommendations for treatment options.