Do I Need Hearing Aids?
Many people wait years and years before purchasing their first set of hearing aids, and there are several reasons for this. Some folks have heard bad things about them, think they are too expensive, don’t know where to start, or just aren’t ready to face their hearing loss head on. At some point though, statistically, most people over the age of 65 will have to ask themselves, “do I need hearing aids?” Answering that is a bit trickier than you might think, because opinions will vary on when the appropriate time to purchase hearing aids actually is. Many professionals say you should buy hearing aids at the first sign of hearing loss, but I’m in the camp that says that’s probably not the best idea.
Technically (by the book), it is best to begin treating hearing loss at the very first sign of a problem, and for many people this is a good option. However, I think it’s far more realistic to wait it out a few years until you really need them, and there’s a few reasons for this. First, hearing aids are expensive- there’s no doubt about it. Although they are hugely beneficial when properly fitted, their still very expensive any way you slice it. If money is not an object, sure, get fit with hearing aids as soon as you notice any hearing loss at all. For the vast majority of folks though, I think you’re better off waiting a few years. You’re probably going to get much more bang for your buck and notice way more improvement.
Aside from the financial aspect, it’s also a good idea to hold off if you just have a very mild loss that you can easily live with, because technology is improving pretty rapidly. New technology is being released almost semi-annually, and hearing aids are starting to get really smart, with several manufacturers looking in to creating apps that users can control from their smart phone to help fine-tune their hearing aids on their own. Speech preservation in the presence of background noise is getting much better, as is feedback cancellation technology (so the hearing aids don’t whistle). Once you do decide to purchase hearing aids, it’s not a bad idea to take a look at the current field of products, and try to time your purchase right after a new groundbreaking product or chip is released, so you can get the best hearing aids, rather than hearing aids which have been in production for a few years already and are just about to be discontinued. That’s not to say that technology that is a few years old isn’t great either- it is, but if you can time the purchase right and get the best available, why not!
Now that that groundwork has been laid, lets look at the actual question of whether or not you need hearing aids. The answer to this is going to vary greatly based on a number of factors, and it’s incredibly hard to answer the question without seeing results of a hearing test, but there are a few things to keep in mind when considering if you really need them. First, if you are struggling to understand people several times a day and constantly saying “huh,” you should probably get your hearing tested. If you have the TV up a little bit louder than others, or have a hard time on the phone, you should probably get your hearing tested. Now, this doesn’t mean that you actually need hearing aids or should purchase them right away, but it means you should absolutely get your hearing tested so you can at the very least track the progression of your hearing loss and get a better idea of what’s going on.
If you’re not quite ready to take the plunge and call a hearing provider for a free test, you might consider using one of these free online hearing tests . Don’t be intimidated by the whole process, and don’t feel like you don’t want to waste anyone’s time getting a hearing test when you don’t even plan on purchasing hearing aids. Many providers will be more than happy to give you a test and just get to know you, and will not pressure you at all to buy hearing aids. At the end of the day, only you and your loved ones can answer the question of whether or not you really need hearing aids, but hopefully the above can give you a little clarity!
If you’d like a free phone consultation with a licensed hearing provider, please feel free to call us at 800-731-6794.