I recently saw an 88 year old woman in the Crystal River office of Gardner Audiology. She was accompanied by her daughter from out of town. The mother was wearing two year old hearing aids that she was very unhappy with. She had been back to the specialist who sold her the hearing aids many times for adjustments, without improvement. Using objective verification, I was able to see that the hearing aids were programmed fairly well. I did not feel I could make adjustments that would have a significant impact on her communication abilities. The daughter was concerned because her mother was no longer socializing with her friends and she was seeing signs of depression.
A study conducted by the National Council on Aging surveyed 2,300 hearing impaired adults found that those with untreated hearing loss were more likely to report depression, anxiety, and paranoia and were less likely to participate in social activities compared to those wearing hearing aids. Conversely, hearing aid users reported significant improvements in many areas of their lives, including relationships and independence.
The full study can be seen at https://www.ncoa.org/resources/the-consequences-of-untreated-hearing-loss-in-older-adults/
At the end of our appointment, the patient and her daughter decided she should trial a set of hearing aids with better noise management, to see if we can improve her ability to communicate better in social situations. We are hopeful that improvement in technology will meet her current needs and allow her to become more active once again.