Voice/VCO: (480) 837-0190
Having a hearing loss is really hard. It is insidious. It usually starts slowly and creeps up on us. We respond in kind. We ignore it and gradually start to limit our lives. We stay at home a lot more—social situations are just too hard to deal with. We don’t go out with our friends as much—it is too hard to hear in restaurants. We don’t go to the movies anymore—can’t understand them. We alienate our families with the tv volume so loud. We frustrate our family with being able to hear them in the morning and afternoon but ignoring what they say in the evening—convenient hearing. Almost all of this can be changed if you want it to be. First, hearing aids do not give you back your hearing 100% like glasses do your eyesight; that is very important for both you and your family and friends to know.
Second –Face facts, it is going to be harder to hear in social situations. There are things you can do to help yourself. Get hearing aids with directional microphones and telecoils; this enables you to block out some of the background noise and direct your hearing to just the front. Telecoils enable you to use fm systems to talk one-on-one with others (like the Comfort Duet) with a neckloop. Sometimes it is better to take your hearing aids out and speech read. You don’t amplify all the surrounding noise that way. Third— Restaurants are usually very noisy. Ask for a table that is in a corner. Sit with your back to the room and turn on your directional microphone for just forward sound. That will eliminate sound from the rest of the room behind you. Get a table that is round if possible so that you can see everyone. Go to a restaurant with good lighting. You need to see to be able to hear well. We all speech read to some extent and it really helps to be able to see the other person when they talk.
Fourth—Movies are possible for almost everyone. They all have devices for the hard of hearing. You just have to ask for them when you get your ticket at the window. In return they will ask for your driver’s license to make sure that you return your device at the end of the movie. Most are like large earphones that you can wear over your ears or hearing aids. Make sure to turn on your telecoil in your hearing aids or cochlear implants (CI’s) .
Fifth—Television. This is a big one. So many families complain about the volume being so high when family members are hard of hearing. TURN ON THE CLOSED CAPTIONS! There are also loop systems that are great to use with telecoils in hearing aids and CI’s. You can loop the room, just loop the seat the hard of hearing (HOH) person is sittingin—under the cushion, put a device on the table in front of the person, etc. Lots of choices. With loop systems you can have the volume on the TV really low and yet the loop system can be at another volume for the HOH person.
Sixth—Yes, we hear better in the morning than the night. We are fresher in the morning and concentrate better. By evening we are tired. It takes a lot of concentration to hear and understand. We guess a lot from context and it is harder if we are tired. Give us a break. Don’t repeat the same words if we don’t hear them. Change the words, use other ones and see if we hear them better. Most hearing aids can have a couple of programs.
You have choices some of which they are— telecoils, front microphones, side microphones, music program, and many more. Each hearing aid is different as to what programs are available. Do not just rely on who you get your hearing aid from to tell you. ASK. INSIST. It is up to you to get the most from these expensive devices. If they don’t work to your satisfaction in the first two weeks— insist on another type. If they reprogram—get the warranty extended. DO NOT REPROGRAM AND CONTINUE WEARING IF THE WARRANTY IS GOING TO EXPIRE. Return the aids and get another type/brand. Hearing aids are like shoes. You can’t put a AAA shoe on a WW foot and have it fit correctly, even if it is on sale. It is not a bargain if you are not going to wear them.