While three out of every 10 people over age 60 have hearing loss, 65% of people with hearing loss are under the age of 65. Treating hearing loss is important to the patient’s state of mind as well as their ears. According to a recent study by Johns Hopkins University, people with untreated hearing loss are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and dementia than people without hearing loss. Buying a hearing aid is one of the easiest ways to combat the effects of hearing loss.
If you want to look into buying a hearing aid, your first stop should be your doctor’s office for a medical exam. Your doctor can clear out ear wax in preparation for your hearing test, as well as checking for tumors and infections that may be causing your hearing loss.
Once you have received your physician exam, it is time to shop for hearing aids. Your audiologist or hearing aid specialist will first have you take a hearing screening test. While screening for hearing loss, he or she may have you listen to a variety of words and tones through headphones, repeat words spoken while reading the tester’s lips and when they are covered, or discerning speech while a loud recording plays in the background. Be sure to tell the tester if you spend a lot of time on the phone or in loud environments, such as restaurants, as they may not think to ask.
There are several different types of hearing aids for adults, and you will want to ask questions to make sure you choose the right one to fit your needs. Battery life and cost, warranties, and return policies are all things you should ask about. When you pick up your hearing aids, test them out in the store. Practice putting them in and taking them out, adjusting volume, changing batteries, and talking on the phone.
While you may be thrilled with your new hearing aid, be sure to schedule a follow-up appointment with the audiologist. While wearing your hearing aid, take note of any issues you may have in certain environments, and if it turns out to not be the right hearing aid after all, remember to return it for repairs or exchanges.