Are you curious about what to expect from hearing aids? Or, maybe you’re looking for helpful tips to help you maximize the use of yours?
In 2018, we spoke with Jacksonville Speech & Hearing Center patient Amy R. Here, she shares her experience with hearing loss diagnosis and what to expect from hearing aids. Amy also offers some helpful suggestions and insight for wearing your hearing aids.
How do I adjust to hearing aids?
A lot of people worry that when they get hearing aids they’re going to have problems adjusting. While I didn’t have a lot of issues, I know some people do. What I would say to them is go to Jacksonville Speech & Hearing Center to have them identify what’s going on.
How does hearing aid technology work?
Since hearing aids are now digital, when you go through the hearing test, they simply plug your hearing aid into the computer. This way, they can determine where you lack the ability to hear. For me, high-pitched sounds are increased as opposed to the low pitch. There is no reason you have to suffer if you feel like you can’t adjust.
What are the benefits of hearing aids?
I know what it’s like to struggle with hearing loss.
Even with hearing aids, my hearing isn’t perfect. I would encourage people to seek answers because there are so many wonderful things in life to hear like children or grandchildren, music, or maybe your work. When I put my hearing aids in in the morning and I hear my cat snore and I hear the birds tweet outside, I know this is something I would miss out on if I didn’t have the tools to hear.
My hearing aids were so helpful to me that I convinced my husband to go have his hearing tested.
Initially, I thought he was just ignoring me as some husbands will do playfully. I did think part of that was because he couldn’t hear me. Sure enough, he went and got tested, and he needed hearing aids as well. Now when he doesn’t hear me, I know it’s not about the hearing, it’s about the topic!
His hearing loss is different from mine. Having that special test with an audiologist who has decades of experience helped define what kind of hearing aid he needed to wear as opposed to what kind of hearing aid I wear.
Does family history play a role in needing hearing aids?
I come from a family that has a lot of hearing problems, but I still thought it would never happen to me. Then, one day I found myself in the ear nose and throat doctor’s office and they told me I probably needed to get hearing aids. It was a very scary experience. My doctor recommended I go to the Jacksonville Speech & Hearing Center.
Even though I had lived in Jacksonville for a long time, I didn’t really know them. And I definitely didn’t know what to expect from hearing aids. I was thrilled when I got there to meet Dr. Mattson. Dr. Mattson is a young woman who grew up wearing hearing aids, so she knew exactly what to tell me about the process. I didn’t want to appear like an old lady. I didn’t want to have all the feedback my grandmother had with her hearing aids, but most of all I wanted to be able to do my job.
How can hearing aids help at work?
As a public relations professional, if you can’t communicate, which includes listening to clients, listening to media, and listening to coworkers, you cannot be a good public relations professional. Dr. Mattson walked me through the process and got me fitted with my first pair of hearing aids.
What was hearing like after being fitted for your hearing aids?
I totally freaked out when I was hearing all the sounds I hadn’t heard in a long time. Dr. Mattson helped me with that too. It was great to have someone who understood what I was going through and could react to that. That was seven or eight years ago. I’m on my second pair of hearing aids now. And frankly, I could not have a conversation without me having hearing aids since I have lost all the higher registers. I can’t hear certain voices, especially female voices since they tend to be higher registers.
When did you realize you were experiencing hearing loss?
When I started to lose my hearing, I didn’t want to face reality. My children said to me, “Mom, you’re not hearing.” And I would say, “No, no, no.”
In the office when I was meeting with clients, it was like all of the sudden I lost the ability to understand what I was doing there because I couldn’t hear.
When you can’t hear, your cognition and your understanding of your environment just go down the tubes. So, I finally got up the nerve to go to the ear, nose, and throat doctor who said I had to go to Jacksonville Speech & Hearing Center.
Don’t go to a place that only sells one type of hearing aid because you only get what they have, not necessarily what you need.
What tools are there for living with hearing aids?
If you’re suffering from hearing loss and you’re thinking about getting hearing aids, there are a number of tools that work with hearing aids that could make your life even easier. There is a streamer which is a Bluetooth- enabled piece of equipment. It enables you to pair your Bluetooth smartphone with your hearing aid.
For example, if you’re driving in your car and you get a call, it will ring through your hearing aids. You press the button on the streamer and you can just talk. You don’t have to hold the phone. Then, you can hear the conversation perfectly because it’s coming right into your ears.
There is also equipment you can add to your home phone or your home television. They enable the sounds to go directly to your hearing aids. They can be a godsend, particularly with television shows that have a lot of dialogue or when they have actors who mumble or talk to the floor and you can’t see their face.
How did hearing aids change the impact of hearing loss at your job?
Getting hearing aids meant the world to my business.
As I mentioned, I couldn’t hear clients. Or I couldn’t hear conversations on the phone. Or couldn’t talk to my co-workers. If you’re struggling to hear at work, or if you work with someone who is struggling to hear, be compassionate. Explain to them that you know there is an answer there. You can get some help. There is someone who has gone through what they are going through. Try to be understanding when they go through the process of getting hearing aids.
When it comes to what to expect from hearing aids, it’s important to remember this: Getting hearing aids does not automatically mean you can hear a pin drop.
How can you advocate for yourself at work as a hearing aid user?
Tell people, “Please don’t talk to the floor,” or “Please look at me when you talk,” or “Don’t mumble, learn to project.” Don’t be embarrassed to say, “I didn’t catch that.”
Lots of times with clients now, I’m not embarrassed about hearing aids; I’ll tell them upfront that I’m wearing hearing aids, which means sometimes I might miss something. I tell them if it looks like I don’t understand or that I haven’t heard them, it’s okay to say to me, “Did you hear that?” I won’t feel bad about it.
Why should I consider hearing aids?
They have changed my life. I am so grateful to Jacksonville Speech & Hearing Center. As a nonprofit, I know they think about me as a patient. I know they are going to recommend something that works especially for me as opposed to something that may be “on special” at another company. They helped me prepare for what to expect from hearing aids and make the best use of them. Nice people, convenient location, people who know what I am going through, it’s a win-win.
Hearing aids are more sleek and innovative than ever before. Click here to see a list of the hearing aid manufacturers we work with and get an idea of your options.
If you have further questions about hearing and audiology services for adults, our audiologists, speech pathologists, services, events, or volunteer opportunities, please reach out to us online or call (904) 355-3403.
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This article has been updated from a previously published version.