(BPT) – Think what it would be like, if after a lifetime of enjoying the taste of your favorite meal, seeing your children smile, smelling blooming flowers, or feeling the comfort of fresh, soft sheets on your bed, you lost one of your senses. You’d probably be devastated, and want to pursue every option for recovering at least part of what you lost. Yet, when it comes to beloved sounds like music or lively conversation, the common response is to wait years before treating hearing loss or to ignore it entirely. Why isn’t the loss of hearing — a sense just as important to quality of life as the other four — as much of a motivator to seek help?
Hearing loss is sneaky
Rather than an abrupt, noticeable loss like one you may experience from a cataract, age-related hearing loss (presbycusis) steals hearing a little at a time. It’s easy to miss that you can’t hear quieter sounds anymore, such as your car’s turn signal. By the time you (or a family member) notices you’re unable to hear the television or struggling to keep up with conversations, you’re likely to have developed subconscious coping mechanisms, such as lip reading. Even after it’s obvious that you’ve lost a significant amount of hearing you might not realize just how many sounds you’re missing, because it’s been so long since you heard them clearly — or at all.
Coping with hearing loss
People deprived of their sense of taste simply have to resign themselves to never enjoying eating like they used to again. However, if it’s your hearing that’s diminished, you can develop workarounds like depending on a family member to serve as your de facto translator at restaurants, performing tasks like repeating the server’s questions. Or you might start avoiding social situations, such as going to a bar or restaurant with friends, altogether. Maybe you think you’re managing fine, but in reality you’re placing limitations on your life that keep you from fully enjoying it.
Cost of treatment versus price of not hearing
Whenever there’s a discussion of why people don’t get hearing aids, someone inevitably points to expense as a significant factor. It’s true that one of the reasons glasses are ubiquitous is that they’re available in a wide range of prices, and many types are effective and affordable even when insurance doesn’t cover them. However, a comparison of glasses to hearing aids doesn’t bear up under scrutiny. Even the most expensive glasses have limited functionality and components, and correcting vision typically doesn’t require more than a single annual visit to an eye doctor.
Conversely, hearing aids are high-tech devices loaded with miniaturized components that do much more than magnify sounds. Hearing is a complex sense to correct, requiring not just appropriate volume adjustment but addressing an individual’s specific frequency loss. If you have tinnitus (unexplained ringing in the ears) that adds yet another layer of complexity. Hearing aids also have to adapt to your changing surroundings by detecting and distinguishing what you want to hear and reducing background noise. They’re also capable of advanced functions like wirelessly streaming audio from Bluetooth(R)-enabled devices.
Many hearing care professionals offer hearing aids at a wide range of price points. It’s very possible that your hearing loss could respond well to a pair of hearing aids that are far more affordable than you might expect.
You don’t have to simply accept a loss of hearing. Talk to a hearing care professional today and learn what options are available to restore this vital sense.
Signia, one of the leading hearing aid brands, has a compelling offer. They are producing an internet reality series this fall and are looking for Americans who have hearing loss but have never worn hearing aids. If you are selected, you will receive your hearing aids at no cost. You will have to agree to be filmed during the process for their series.
Signia is selecting just three participants, and there is no guarantee you’ll be one of them, but you have nothing to lose. If you are interested, you can read about the contest at castingcall.signiausa.com/.