So another year has begun and you’re ready to fulfill those resolutions you made on New Year’s Eve. Did they include a promise to address your hearing loss? If so, we’d like to help you succeed by presenting the following three steps to better hearing:
1. Find a hearing care professional.
Ideally, choose someone local to you for convenience, as you will see them at least a few times each year for follow-up visits, cleanings, and general troubleshooting. The best ways to find a local hearing care professional (HCP) include:
Ask a family member, friend, or acquaintance who has already had a hearing test/wears hearing aids for a suggestion
Ask your primary care physician for a referral
Attend a local HCP’s “open house” (often advertised in local papers or on flyers posted in neighborhood businesses)
2. Schedule an appointment for a hearing test.
During this initial visit, your HCP will talk to you about your hearing. They will ask about situations in which you notice hearing problems, whether you have any family history of hearing loss, and your medical history (including any medications you’re taking and whether you have conditions associated with hearing difficulties). After this general evaluation, the HCP will conduct the actual hearing test, which includes a physical examination of your ears and a test during which you’ll listen and respond to words and sounds produced at varying frequencies, to determine your exact type and degree of hearing loss.
3. Follow your hearing care professional’s advice―without delay.
Assuming your visit and tests confirm you have a significant enough hearing loss to require treatment, don’t do what so many others in your position and wait for ten more years to pass before getting hearing aids. You’ll choose from a wide array of hearing aids, from tiny, custom-fit in-the-ear models to discreet, powerful behind-the ear devices. Your HCP will help you select the option that will best correct your hearing loss and fit your lifestyle. Many HCPs will also let you try out a pair of hearing aids before committing to purchase.
As cost is often a factor, discuss whether your hearing test or hearing aids are covered with your insurance agent. However, even if you don’t have traditional insurance coverage, ask your HCP about alternate financial assistance programs. Many states offer programs to help qualified patients afford hearing aids, plus many HCPs have their own payment plans and discounts.