Saturday, September 10, 2016

Hearing loss 2

Yesterday I was talking about hearing loss, and how it can be ignored.There are a number of professionals who can help if you think that you or someone you know has a hearing loss. 

These are:
The family doctor, if asked can do a quick, non invasive screening for hearing loss during a physical exam and refer the patient to a hearing professional (be sure to tell your doctor about any changes in hearing or difficulty in communication).

Hearing instrument practitioner/specialist. In BC they must have a college level diploma with 2-3 years hearing aid training. They typically work with adults and may be more accessible than audiologists in rural areas. They test hearing, recommend hearing aids and recommend other medical professionals when needed. In BC they must be registered with the College of Speech and Hearing Health Professionals of BC

Audiologist--Audiologists have a Master’s level degree, 6 years of university, 2-3 years’ audiology specific. They are trained in the study and treatment of the auditory and balance systems across the lifespan. They will perform hearing tests, prescribe and fit hearing aids, manage hearing loss and its symptoms and refer to other medical professionals when needed. They too must be registered with the College of Speech and Hearing Health Professionals of BC.

Ear, nose and throat doctor (otorhinolaryngologist) This Is a medical doctor specializing in ear, nose and throat concerns and to see them you must get a referral from your family doctor.

When you go to get your hearing test what can you expect?

While the first thing is that the test will be performed by a hearing instrument practitioner or an audiologist to determine the presence, degree and type of hearing loss.

The results are a measure of what the individual can hear and not how it affects their life; further discussion of your health and hearing history must take place

The hearing test can take 20 minutes to 1 hour. The instructions will tell you to press the button (or raise your hand) when you hear the beep.

Based on the client’s hearing loss, hearing needs and goals for communication, the professional may recommend a trial with hearing aids and other options available.

Everyone is different, but when I finally received my hearing aides, I experienced improved speech understanding in quiet situations; I was able to listen with less effort. My partner and friends could not speak normally to me without yelling or repeating themselves. Loud sounds were not longer scary or irritating. My hearing aid was comfortable and I was told it should not whistle while in the ear, it does not. I have found that sounds seem sharper and/or louder than before. 

I have three setting on my hearing aids, to make sure that hIgh levels of noise and competing sounds are not difficult
Batteries are a pain, and will have to be changed from every five days (my batteries) to every 1 to 3 weeks (other products).

You have to get used to a hearing aid and recognize that wearing it does not mean you will hear perfectly in every situation, just remember that neither does anyone else!

I have had my hearing aids for about a year and I have found that the more I wear my hearing aids the better I become.
Hearing aides are expensive, and one of the top reasons hearing aids are not pursued is their cost. Recognize that price is based on technology level, not style or colour.

Technology level refers to the way the hearing aid processes sound and the “bells and whistles” available. Shop around once you know you need a hearing aid. I did and found that COSTCO hearing aid centers, offered the best prices on the technology. There are two levels of technology for hearing aids,

Low technology $1100 to $1300 each ear, and this is best for someone who doesn’t need, or want, a whole lot of extras.
High technology $4000 to $6000 each ear, and is best for someone who is in a variety of challenging situations and wants to be ready for everything.

All clinics in BC must give the client a minimum 30 day trial from receipt of the hearing aids in which they can return it (minus a professional fee).

Ask the clinic about their dispensing fee and what is included: trial period, any fees   for returning the hearing aid, warranties and other services that are included (i.e. check-ups, counselling).

No universal coverage for hearing aids or tests is available in BC for adults.  However, it may pay to ask your hearing professional for information on funding options and help with the paperwork  For a list of subsidies across Canada, check

If you have a hearing loss and cannot get a hearing aid, here are some tips to help:
·       If you didn’t hear something, ask for it to be repeated but in different words and indicating the parts that you did hear
·       Be assertive and control the listening environment by giving suggesting of how others can help communication go more smoothly
·       Consider getting important points written down
·       Use visual or situational cues available to you (i.e. facial expressions, gestures)

If you know someone with a hearing loss, here are some tips to help you communicate better with them
·       Stand so the person can see your face; ensure good light is on your face
·       Gain their attention before speaking
·       Do not shout; attempt to talk normally and increase volume only as needed
·       Talk slowly and clearly but do not overly exaggerate
·       Empathize and be patient while easing the person’s listening

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