Are your expectations of hearing amplification realistic?

By Rebecca Krukemyer, Au.D

        When preparing a new patient for hearing aids, a review of realistic expectations is necessary.
        This includes what one should and should not expect when it comes to hearing aids. Sometimes it’s not the patient who needs this information. In many cases it is the family members and friends of the patient who need to be prepared for what to expect.
        Here are some tips for family and friends:
        • Talk at a normal volume; do not shout. Shouting distorts speech, making it difficult to understand. Shouting can also be uncomfortable for the person who wears hearing aids.
        • Slow down your rate of speech. As we get older, we do not process speech as quickly as before, so a slower rate can be quite helpful. Sitcoms can be particularly difficult to understand because the dialogue is usually fast paced.
        • Face the person to whom you are talking, as many people are lip readers. Don’t start a conversation and continue talking while walking out of the room.
        • Reduce ambient room noise, such as the television. Sophisticated hearing aids detect speech, however, they cannot determine which person you would like to hear. Don’t expect the hearing aid to amplify your voice over the voice on the television.
        • Recognize that hearing aids are aids. They do not restore hearing to normal, but they do significantly improve hearing. Comments like “You didn’t hear me?” “Are you sure your hearing aids are working?” or “You should hear everything now that you have hearing aids” can be very frustrating for hearing aid wearers.
        Recognize that not everybody will achieve the same level of success with hearing aids. For example, two people with the exact same hearing aids should not expect the same results.
        There are other variables that affect the successful use of hearing aids. These include the amount of hearing loss, the amount of clarity remaining and processing issues. Patients don’t have control of these factors, and comments like “Helen hears so much better with her hearing aids than you do” can be hurtful and discouraging.
        Rebecca Krukemyer is an audiologist at Portage Valley Hearing, LLC in Pemberville. Contact her by emailing or calling 419-287-2201.


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