Did you know that the type of hearing aid you wear is based on your individual profile?

September 18, 2012 by Michèle Veilleux

When deciding if a person should wear a hearing aid, there are several factors to consider. An individual’s personality and their environment bear more or less equal consideration in determining hearing aid needs.
First of all, it is important to understand that the audiogram represents only one factor. This graphic, generated by the audiologist, illustrates the degree and type of hearing loss present. It forms the basis of any hearing assessment, certainly, but bear in mind that two people with the same type of deafness can each face very different challenges.

These challenges vary depend-ing on the hearing-impaired person’s level of activity. For example, people who do not lead busy social lives and who are not working will interact less frequently with others, and therefore will run up against fewer communication challenges. In addition, if they know the people with whom they usually communicate, their needs will be less acute. People who are hard of hearing will usually find it easier to communicate with friends and family as opposed to strangers.

It is also important to consider the type of work a person performs. People who engage in manual labour and who have little need to communicate with others may feel less inclined to use hear-ing aids than a person who attends meetings frequently, interacts with the public or who works in cus-tomer service. The actual work environment can be a factor as well. Quiet workplaces such as closed offices make it easier for hearing-impaired people to understand conversation, in contrast to noisy environments like open concept spaces that are shared with several colleagues.

Recreational activities also come into play. Life does not only happen at work—what a person does in their free time is also an important consideration. To take full advantage of leisure activities, it is important to take stock of what is required. People who participate in numerous social activities (bingo, bridge, etc.) will have greater need for a hearing aid than those who engage in solitary pastimes such as reading, sewing or embroidery.

It is important to note that the ability to adapt to hearing loss varies greatly from one individual to another. Some people are limited in their ability to compensate, such as through lip-reading or by signalling that they have missed what was said. People who are less inclined to employ good communication strategies experience more severe consequences as a result of hearing loss, which increases the need for hearing aids.

Furthermore, a person’s capacity to make mental adjustments hinges on their language facility (syntax and vocabulary) as well as their degree of general knowledge; these make a big dif-ference in one’s ability to under-stand. In addition, when the language a hearing-impaired person hears is not their mother tongue, difficulties increase, along with the need to wear hearing aids. For example, if you are learning French or enjoy frequent travel, you may find these activities very challeng-ing once you experience hearing loss and feel a greater need for hear-ing aids.

Always keep in mind that to reap all the benefits of hearing aids and to facilitate their regular usage, it is important to recognize one’s own unique challenges and feel motivated to make the necessary effort!

Do not hesitate to consult an audiologist at a Lobe Santé auditive et communication clinic for more information.