by Debbie Clason for Healthy Hearing
September 18, 2015 - Are you a fearful person? While a little fear is good — like being afraid to walk alone at night in an unfamiliar neighborhood — too much fear can actually be harmful to your health. Take the fear of wearing hearing aids, for example. With studies indicating untreated hearing loss increases the risk of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, social isolation, anxiety and depression, individuals with hearing loss should be flocking to their nearest hearing healthcare professional for diagnosis and treatment. Yet they aren’t. In fact, studies indicate most individuals wait an average of seven to 10 years before doing something about it.
Why does the thought of wearing hearing devices scare people? Here are five common fears, along with compelling reasons why they shouldn’t keep anyone from seeking treatment for hearing loss.
I’m afraid they’ll make me look old.
We’re not quite sure where this particular social stigma got started, but thankfully it’s no longer in vogue. In a January 2014 Huffington Post article by Ann Brenoff, 10 Things You Do That Make You Look 10 Years Older, hearing aids didn’t even make the list.
In comparison, untreated hearing loss can make you appear older, especially if you:
If you’re really self-conscious about the way hearing aids look, ask a hearing healthcare professional if your hearing loss can be treated with a device that fits completely in your ear canal, or looks like it’s a Bluetooth earpiece. Whether it’s a set of earbuds or a hearing aid, as long as it helps you hear better, you’ll not only appear younger, you’ll feel better, too.
I don’t like to go to the doctor.
If fear of seeing the doctor is related to a fear of not knowing what will happen at your appointment, let us enlighten you. Although every hearing healthcare professional has their own procedure, here’s a general idea of what you can expect at your first hearing evaluation:
And, please don’t let the cost of the evaluation keep you away, either. Most evaluations cost between $150 and $225 depending upon the tests conducted as well as the age of the patient. Many insurance plans cover this cost (check with your provider) and many hearing centers can help qualified patients find financial assistance.
I’m afraid I won’t be able to afford them.
While this is a reasonable fear, it shouldn’t prevent you from seeking treatment for hearing loss. Instead, do a little research. One of these options may be the financial answer you’re looking for:
I’m afraid they won’t work.
Ah — you’ve been talking to your neighbor again, haven’t you — the one who keeps her hearing aids in the drawer? Or maybe you’re remembering what it was like when your grandmother wore hearing aids 20 years ago? Here’s an update: In the last 10 years, hearing device technology has improved significantly. Today’s hearing devices are better able to distinguish speech from background noise, are smaller and more discreet and are designed to work in tandem with all of your favorite technology (think smartphone, television and computer).
Ten years ago you had to make an appointment to get your hearing aid reprogrammed; today you can do it yourself from your smartphone. And the neighbor who keeps her hearing aids in the nightstand? It’s time for her to make an appointment with her hearing healthcare professional and have a frank conversation about why she isn’t wearing them. Today, more than ever, there’s no reason to settle for not hearing well — especially when good hearing may be just a minor adjustment away.
I’m afraid I’ll lose them.
“I lose my keys every day. And my eyeglasses? Forget about it!” We hear you. But fess up — these are things you either take on and off a lot, right? And at different times, in different locations? Used correctly, hearing aids will most likely be one of the first things you put on in the morning and the last things you take off at night. Make them part of your morning and bedtime routines, and you’ll be able to eliminate this fear easily.
If you’re still not confident you can keep track of them, talk to your insurance agent about adding hearing aids to your personal property insurance.
By shining a light on hearing aid fears, we hope we’ve given you the courage to seek help for your hearing loss sooner rather than later. For a list of hearing healthcare professionals in your area, visit Healthy Hearing’s online directory.
View this content on HealthyHearing.com.
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The Dann Hearing Center has been helping the people of Fairfield County (Norwalk, Darien, New Canaan, Weston, Westport, Stamford, Ridgefield, Redding, Greenwich and elsewhere) to get more out of their lives with better hearing.
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