Having Trouble Hearing?

Having Trouble Hearing?

Are you having a little trouble hearing lately? You are in good company. One of every ten Americans in this country experiences hearing loss. In the population group over 65 years of age, over 1/3 has a hearing loss. After age 75, about half experience hearing loss.

It takes an average of five to seven years before someone diagnosed with hearing loss does anything about it. And only 20% of the population that could benefit from hearing aids actually has them. As a long-time wearer of hearing aids, I want to offer some tips you may find useful if you are considering hearing aids.Get your ears examined by an ENT (Ear, Nose, Throat physician). Maybe you have a giant ball of earwax in your ear that is preventing you from hearing like you used to. You will also learn whether or not hearing aids will even help. Obtain a copy of your audiogram, too.

1. If hearing aids can help you, treat your hearing aid purchase like any other big ticket item, and shop around. Be a savvy hearing aid consumer by learning the licensing requirements for selling hearing aids in the state of Oregon (www.egov.oregon.gov/OHLA/HAS).

2. Hearing aid adjustment is a very personal process. You will want to buy hearing aids from a professional who will listen and take the time to make sure that your hearing aids are adjusted to your satisfaction (not just to match the manufacturer’s specifications or even your audiogram).

3. If a hearing aid is “on sale”, be cautious. Don’t fall for pressure tactics.

4. Also, don’t believe that the most expensive hearing aids are the “best”. A recent article in Hearing Loss magazine addressed this issue and concluded that the most expensive hearing aids are not necessarily “best”. Do you really need all those bells and whistles? Choosing manual controls instead of fully automatic controls will usually save a good deal of money. However, directional microphones really do help.

5. Consider purchasing behind the ear (BTE) hearing aids which generally last longer, have fewer problems, and offer the most flexibility. If your hearing loss gets worse, you may have adjustments made without needing to purchase new hearing aids.

6. Join Hearing Loss Association of America (HLA). HLA is the largest non-profit hearing loss advocacy group in the country (www.hearingloss.org).

7. Ask people you know for recommendations. If you don’t know anyone with hearing aids, attend a local HLA chapter meeting and ask members about their hearing aids.

Make sure your hearing aids have T-coils in them. T-coils give you more flexibility for using your hearing aids with telephones and other assistive technology.

8. Have realistic expectations about hearing aids. Hearing aids will not bring your hearing back in the same way that glasses restore vision.

9. Learn your rights as a hearing aid consumer (www.egov.oregon.gov/OHLA/HAS). If they don’t work out, you may receive a refund minus $250 per hearing aid, or 10% of the purchase price (whatever is less). Some professionals are willing to give you more than the state’s minimum requirements for returns.

10. Make sure you participate in hearing aid follow up and adjustments. In many cases, you have only 30 days to decide if you want to keep your hearing aids. But if you are actively seeking adjustments, you may have more time. If you’ve had hearing aid issues that have not been resolved, you can file a complaint with the Hearing Aid Licensing Board online, or at 503-378-8667, ext. 4314.

The state provides telecommunications equipment at no charge for people with hearing loss and other impairments. You may contact the state at 1-800-848-4442 or puc.tdap@state.or.us.

Although hearing aids do not restore hearing, they can greatly improve your quality of life. Hearing aids will help keep you connected to people in your world. Hear hear!

On behalf of the Disability & Business Technical Assistance Center (DBTAC), Andrea Olson, MS, CRC provides presentations on hearing loss, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and other disability-related topics free to employers and groups. She has worn hearing aids for almost 40 years. Andrea may be contacted at hearforears@gmail.com or 503-452-8888.

Source: Disability & Business Technical Assistance Center (DBTAC), Andrea Olson, MS, CRC, Andrea may be contacted at hearforears@gmail.com or 503-452-8888.

Provided by: Andrea Olson, MS, CRC, Disability & Business Technical Assistance Center (DBTAC)
For more information: email hearforears@gmail.com, 503-452-8888

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