Hearing loss a serious health issue for boomers
Boomers love to garden

Find qualified provider for testing, fitting before you buy hearing aid

Huh?

What did you say?

What was that?
   
If these words are creeping into your conversations more frequently, you may need hearing aids.
   
Scared at the thought?
   
Millions of boomers are. They have hearing problems, but don’t do anything about it.
   
Begin by seeing a medical doctor. He or she can tell you if your hearing loss could be caused by a medical problem such as earwax, fluid behind the eardrum, or an infection.
   
Hearingaidspecialistpop About 5 percent of hearing problems can be treated medically or surgically, Danette Wagner Jackson, audiologist for Integrity Hearing Services, told me in an interview.

Next, choose a qualified, experienced hearing aid dispenser or audiologist. Find out what the licensing requirements are in your state. Make sure the hearing aid dispenser or audiologist meets state requirements.
 
You can also ask family or friends for recommendations and check with your local Better Business Bureau.

The American Academy of Audiology offers lists of audiologists in cities throughout the United States.

Before you have a hearing test, find out what type is offered, what it will cost, and how it will be conducted. You don’t want a quick test in a noisy room for this important evaluation.

Make sure test results are explained to you, says Wagner Jackson. “It’s very important. A lot of decision are based on what the hearing loss is.”

Find out if you can take the test results with you. That way, you can compare hearing aid prices and buy from a firm that charges less.

Hearing aids cost $1,000 to $4,000. Some firms may charge two times or more than others.

Many states recommend or require that consumers get at least a 30-day trial period to determine if the hearing aids will work for them. The dispenser or audiologist usually charges a service fee of 5 to 20 percent of the purchase price if the hearing aid is returned during that time.

You should work closely with the dispenser or audiologist during the trial period to get the hearing aids adjusted properly. It takes time to get use to hearing aids. Even when they are properly adjusted there may be initial discomfort in sound levels.

“People don’t really know what to expect,” Wagner Jackson said. They feel something in the ears, and their voice sounds different to them. And the biggest, most difficult change is all the sounds in the environment, she said. “The brain needs to be retrained.”

Digital hearing aids can be programmed with a computer to make adjustments to fit individual needs.

“Little things going wrong can be fixed,” Wagner Jackson said. Pointers are given on how the hearing aids can work better, and tips are offered on listening techniques.

Discuss options with your dispenser or audiologist on what’s best for your hearing loss. Don’t just get the smallest hearing aids or what your friend has.

“It’s not like going to the grocery store and buying lemons,” she said.

Wagner Jackson says people shouldn’t be scared about wearing hearing aids. “Hearing loss is more noticeable than hearing aids.”

For details on how to buy a hearing aid see:

"Sound Advice on Hearing Aids" – Federal Trade Commission

"Selecting Hearing Aids" – The American Academy of Audiology

Copyright, 2008 Rita R. Robison, Consumer Specialist

Comments

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Pete

I like to play guitar whenever I can through an amplifier vs. listening through headphones. Yesterday I decided to get out my Sound Pressure Meter (convenient and inexpensive little device for calibrating audio) and found what I thought was a reasonable volume was around 120 decibels. I'm going to keep it handy from now on to postpone the need for hearing aids unless I've already done myself in.

Rita

It's a good idea to protect your hearing.

Baby Boomers have experienced a greater increase in noise pollution than any other generation, according to "Buyer's Guide to Hearing Aids" by HearingPlanet, a distributor of hearing aids. Prolonged or loud noise exposure seems to have overtaken age as the leading cause of hearing loss, the report states.

Thanks for your comment.

Rita

Mary

This is a helpful post as was the earlier one on hearing loss. This gave me some insight as to why my mom had such a difficult time with the hearing aides she was given. She never took the time to retrain the brain.

Rita

Hi Mary,

Yes, it often takes time to get hearing aids adjusted properly. That's why it's so important to find an experienced, skilled dispenser or audiologist to help you.

Thanks for your comment.

Rita

Mona Robison

Did you look at Aunt Grace's website? It is http://www.hearinglossca.org/. She seems to be looking for young sexy folks who wear hearing aids! her last newsletter had a hunky guy on it. You can reach her at grace@waegell.org. Mona

Pete

I don't know if you track links but I wrote up what I said in my comment for a post and referenced your article:

http://www.guitarboomer.com/2008/05/your-guitar-amp-is-louder-than-you.html

It seems popular given the number of hits so I guess people are focused on doing what they can to protect their hearing, even aging guitar players. Or maybe especially aging guitar players.

Rita

Hi Mona,

I looked at Aunt Grace's Web Site, and it's really good. Thanks for letting me know about it.

Rita

Rita

Hi Pete,

I read your post about doing a test to see how loud your guitar is, the one where you mentioned my blog.

I'm glad you wrote about possible hearing loss from loud music and that you received a lot of hits. It's important that people take care of their hearing.

I did receive quite a few hits from your link.

Thanks,

Rita

P.S. I've used your line about "If I'd known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself" when I told people about your post. People were interested that you started playing guitar at age 50.

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