Your hearing aids: Looks or function?

August 15, 2010 by Julie Caya
Your hearing aids: Looks or function?Although we’ve come a long way from the days of the ear trumpet, circa 17th century, people who are hard-of-hearing who consult with their audioprosthetist for the first time often have one thing on their mind: will other people be able to see it?

People who are hard-of-hearing don’t want anyone to know that they’re wearing a hearing aid. They may wear glasses and dentures, but they never want people to know they have hearing aids. According to them, wearing a hearing aid is a clear sign of old age.

When a patient meets the audioprosthetist for the first time, he rarely knows much about the digital technology in hearing aids. He has asked friends who wear hearing aids some questions, and he often arrives at the appointment with the audioprosthetist possessing partial information and some misconceptions.

Before consulting an audioprosthetist, it’s important to know that for each hearing loss (aidable ear), there is a type of hearing aid that can improve that loss optimally, but it may not necessarily be the smallest hearing aid! On occasion, the hearing aid that most suits a particular hearing loss acoustically may not satisfy all the aesthetic wishes of the user. The first goal of the audioprosthetist is to recommend the hearing aid that will improve the patient’s ability to listen and understand speech.

In the final analysis, however, the best hearing aid is always the one that the patient wants to wear.

Indeed, at the first hearing aid appointment, we frequently notice that patients are more concerned about the look of the hearing aid than about its function.

Over time, meanwhile, the hard-of-hearing person quickly realizes that wearing a hearing aid is not the issue, rather, it’s the hearing loss itself. What people first notice is the fact that the hard-of-hearing person is always asking people to repeat themselves, or that he pretends to understand, or that he responds incorrectly to questions, or that he increases the volume of the television to the point at which people constantly have to ask him to turn it down.

Hearing aids are designed to help people who are hard-of-hearing to correct their comprehension problems. That’s why it’s wise to keep in mind that hearing aid selection should be based on the hearing loss and hearing and communication needs. Gradually, people who are hard-of-hearing become more at ease when speaking about their hearing difficulties and will become more at ease discussing the features of their hearing aids. Women will even start wearing the shorter hairstyles that they’ve always wanted to have.

Encouraging a child to choose whichever colourful hearing aid that he wants will foster his acceptance of the hearing loss and use of hearing aids. The hearing loss may then make the child view himself as unique, rather than handicapped.

Don’t hesitate to consult an audioprosthetist who practices in one of Lobe Santé auditive et communication’s multidisciplinary clinics when selecting your hearing aids.