I have a hearing loss, what do I do now?

June 11, 2013 by Lobe and Julie Caya

I have a hearing loss, what do I do now?

After a thorough assessment of your hearing, you recently found out that you have a hearing loss. Now that you’ve gone through a range of emotions, you suddenly find yourself full of questions. Know this: you are not alone! More than 10% of the population has some form of hearing impairment.

What should I do?

First and foremost, you should make an appointment with an audioprosthetist. These are the only health professionals that sell, fit and adjust hearing aids. Always on top of the latest technological advancements, the audioprosthetist will become a close ally in guiding you through the process of choosing hearing aids.

Here is what you can expect at your first meeting with your audioprosthetist.

First of all, the initial meeting serves as an opportunity to discuss the audiometric exam, assess your listening and communication needs and select the most appropriate hearing aids based on all of these considerations.

1- Reviewing your audiometric exam

Bear in mind that there are different types and degrees of hearing loss, namely sensorineural, conductive and mixed, rang-ing from mild to profound. The leading cause of hearing loss is presbycusis (natural degeneration of the ear). Presbycusis mostly affects the hair cells of the inner ear. The hearing aids recommended will depend on the type and degree of your hearing loss.

2– Assessing your listening and communication needs

This is one of the most crucial steps in the process. Here, the audioprosthetist will ask you a long list of questions to gain a thorough understanding of the activities and moments in your day-to-day life during which you have trouble understanding what people are saying. These questions might include:

  • Do you have to turn the volume up high to hear the TV properly?
  • Do you have trouble following a conversation among several people or at a restaurant?
  • Do you have trouble understanding what your co-workers are saying during meetings?
  • When watching a presentation, do you have trouble understanding the speaker?
  • Do you have trouble understanding lyrics and hearing the music at live performances?
  • Do you have a hard time understanding movies at the cinema?
  • Do you have trouble hearing what people are saying when riding in a car?
  • Do you have trouble understanding the person on the other end in phone conversations?
  • Do you find it difficult to follow conversations during family gatherings?
  • Do you take part in any sporting activities, such as golfing or cycling? Do you struggle to understand your teammates?
  • Do you participate in any social activities such as dancing or card games? Do you have problems understanding your fellow participants?
  • And so on…

Your answers are vital for the audioprosthetist to be able to get a complete picture of your listening and communication problems and recommend the most suitable hearing aids for your needs.

3- Choosing your hearing aids

The choice of hearing aids available to you will depend on several factors: the degree of your hearing loss, the shape of your ears, as well as your listening and communication needs, expectations, style preferences, and of course, budget. Having realistic expectations is also a key factor in any successful fitting process.

Do not hesitate to consult an audioprosthetist at any Lobe Santé auditive et communication multidisciplinary clinic. These professionals are there to guide you through the process to help you maintain your quality of life.

Let’s look, for example, at Suzanne, a 45-year-old high school teacher.
Below is an overview of her lifestyle. This information will help the audioprosthetist fully understand Suzanne’s listening needs and, in turn, offer the most appropriate hearing aid.

Suzanne is active:

  • She plays volleyball with co-workers (she needs to communicate quickly on the court).
  • She organizes educational outings for her school (she has to be able to hear the presentations).
  • She is the head of her school’s science and technology department (she must fully grasp everyone’s comments during weekly meetings).
  • She often uses a cell phone when going to and from different places.
  • She loves classical music and goes to concerts frequently (she needs sharp sound quality to truly appreciate the pieces).
  • She goes to restaurants a lot with friends (she needs to follow conversations with a lot of background noise).
  • At 45 years of age, appearance is important to her (she wants hearing aids that are fairly discreet without compromising performance quality, which is absolutely necessary for her).

After going over the audiometric exam and lifestyle assessment, the audioprosthetist will recommend a type of hearing aid that will deliver superior performance and adjustment flexibility to meet her listening and communication needs in different situations. Suzanne’s hearing aids will also have to be compatible with Bluetooth technology to make it easier for her to talk on her cell phone, listen to presentations, etc. It goes without saying that Suzanne’s needs are greater than someone who lives alone and rarely socializes.