Often people who experience hearing loss are the last to realize there is a problem. Because most people lose hearing gradually over a period of years, it can be difficult to distinguish what is being missed. In that time, as our hearing is slowly changing, our brains are also slowly adapting to this “new normal,” until we reach a point where listening with hearing loss is all we know. In these cases, it is usually close friends or family who notice the full effects of a hearing impairment has on their loved ones. They may be the ones to point out that a family member is not understanding speech, asking people to repeat often, or listen to the television at an elevated volume. Miscommunications can also cause stress, not just for the hearing-impaired person, but among their friends and family as well.
This was exactly the case for our patient, WG. Due to years of hearing loss, she had become increasingly withdrawn. She no longer went out with friends or visited with family. She also eventually stopped watching television and making phone calls because understanding speech was just too difficult. Increasingly concerned, her son finally convinced her to have her hearing tested. As suspected, she did have quite a bit of hearing loss in both ears and was an excellent candidate for hearing aids.
Understandably, WG was hesitant to make this change in her life and skeptical if she would see any difference. On the day of her hearing aid fitting, we explained that, because there were so many sounds she had not heard for so long, it would take some time for her brain to fully adjust to all the new auditory input she would be getting. WG had several family members visiting from out of state and she went to meet them as soon as she left the office putting her new hearing aids to the test.
When she returned for her one-week follow-up appointment, WG was like a whole new person. She was smiling, talking more, and just seemed happier overall. She stated that, after getting used to them, she had done very well with the hearing aids over that first week. Her son was equally excited commenting she was more engaged than she had been in years. She was able to talk with all her visiting relatives understanding their conversations. Her son was grateful he did not need to repeat as much that week. WG was also excited that she had watched her favorite television program for the first time in years and that she could understand most of what was being said.
While not every patient adapts as quickly, with proper fitting procedures, follow-up care, and patient commitment, this is an outcome we strive to achieve for all our patients. Hearing loss not only affects the patient, but their loved ones as well. At Gardner Audiology it is our goal to assist you and your family on your better hearing journey and give you all the best tools possible for improved communication and quality of life.
Our Board-Certified Doctors of Audiology are here to provide quality hearing health care and expert advice. If you or a loved one are having difficulties hearing, please call 1-800-277-1182.