by Neil Bauman, Ph.D.
Many hard of hearing people are not being fair to either themselves or their audiologists. They go to their audiologists and want “instant hearing” again. They fail to realize that their brains need to re-learn how to hear again—and retraining brains takes time.
Audiologists, too, are at fault for not making this rehabilitative process a priority in their practices. In fact, some don’t even see the need for it.
However, there are some good audiologists out there. One such audiologist wrote:
One common misconception (even amongst audiologists) is that hearing aids are a “stick it in your ear and hear” thing, whereas cochlear implants (CIs) need considerable training and reprogramming. This is a very untrue statement regarding hearing aids.
If audiologists spent as much time fitting hearing aids as they do for CI’s, then there would be much happier hearing aid users. The problem is, insurance companies pay for much of the retraining for CIs, but usually nothing at all for hearing aids. Thus, unfortunately, many times the quality of care people get is dictated by their insurance companies and not their individual needs.
At the same time, many people just want a quick fix—stick something in my ear so I can hear normally again. Just give me a pill to fix what ails me. You should have heard some of the comments I have gotten from long term hearing aid users when I suggested they needed aural rehabilitation, especially when they got a new hearing aid.
Fitting a hearing aid takes a team of at least two experts with equal participation. One in the technology expert (audiologist) and the other is the expert on your unique hearing loss (you).
Coping with hearing loss is a lifelong process. In order to successfully live with your hearing loss, you are going to have to work at it. The more you put in, the more you get out.
At the very minimum there are five areas you need to address:
- Psychologically and emotionally adjust to your hearing loss,
- Learn and practice good hearing loss coping strategies,
- Learn to speechread,
- Wear properly fitted hearing aids, and
- Supplement your hearing aids with assistive devices as needed.
To help you to successfully live with your hearing loss, I wrote the book “Keys to Successfully Living with your Hearing Loss“. This book covers a lot of what you need to know, but your audiologist doesn’t have time to tell you. Having this book lets you read and re-read it until it becomes a natural part of your life. Click the above link to get this invaluable book now.