Ask anyone what the main reason for treating hearing loss is and the response is pretty predictable. Most people will answer with something along the lines of “the purpose of hearing loss treatment is to help you hear better.
Finally being able to hear your spouse, children, grandchildren, or TV better IS a great benefit of hearing loss treatment. However, in our opinion, it’s not the most important one. In reality, the number one reason our Mesa and Scottsdale audiologists encourage people to treat their hearing loss is to promote good cognitive health and delay the onset of age-related cognitive decline.
So, how does treating hearing loss help your brain? We’ll talk about that in just a minute but first, let’s look at exactly what hearing loss treatment entails.
Treating Hearing Loss Is a Journey, Not a One-Time Event
Many people think that hearing loss treatment is something they get once and then they’re done. In reality, though, the only time this might be the case is when you choose to purchase over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids. That’s because OTC hearing aids don’t require a hearing test, can be purchased without a prescription at your local pharmacy, and they must be fitted and adjusted by the user.
In contrast, treating hearing loss by working closely with an audiologist or other hearing professional is a process. Here, we’ll walk you through the steps in the hearing loss treatment journey.
Key Steps for Treating Hearing Loss Effectively
1. Identify that you have a hearing problem.
Obviously, you can’t treat a problem if you don’t even know it exists. Have friends, family members, or even acquaintances been telling you that you have hearing loss? Maybe you’ve even recognized it yourself after having difficulty hearing conversations or discerning sounds in noisy environments. Either way, the first step in the journey is to admit you have a problem.
2. Schedule a thorough hearing evaluation with an audiologist.
Now that you think you have a hearing problem, it’s time to find out if your assumptions are correct. The only way to know for sure is with a hearing test and a thorough hearing evaluation. A hearing test will measure whether you do, in fact, have hearing loss and will help determine the severity of the loss. Beyond that, your audiologist will evaluate other factors like medical conditions that could impact your hearing.
3. Review options for treating hearing loss with your audiologist and family.
Many people assume that if they have hearing loss, they’ll automatically be fitted with hearing aids as the solution. However, that isn’t always the case. There are a variety of factors involved including the type and severity of hearing loss as well as its cause.
For example, some instances of hearing loss are actually the result of another medical condition. In these cases, effective treatment of that condition may also resolve the hearing problem. There are also some cases where surgery or medication are viable options for treating hearing loss.
4. If hearing aids are recommended, start with a trial period.
Here’s where the biggest difference between hearing aids purchased over the counter versus those prescribed by an audiologist occurs. With OTC hearing aids, you simply go to the store and buy them, follow the operating instructions included with the devices, and hope that they’ll help you hear better. (Also keep in mind that OTC hearing aids are only meant for people with mild to moderate hearing loss.)
When your audiologist prescribes hearing aids, however, the process looks much different. First, they’ll help you find the best hearing aids that meet your specific hearing needs, fit within your budget, and match your lifestyle. The devices will be set at a high enough level for you to notice improved hearing abilities but low enough so your brain doesn’t become overwhelmed with all of the ‘new’ sounds it’s having to process.
Then, you’ll wear the hearing aids for a 1-2 week trial period. During this time, you can make note of what works and what doesn’t. In a follow-up appointment with your audiologist, further adjustments can be made to set the hearing aids at the appropriate level for the ultimate hearing benefit.
5. Get periodic hearing aid adjustments or new hearing aids to address hearing changes over time.
Treating hearing loss is important, but it’s an ongoing process you’ll need to do for the rest of your life. That’s because your hearing will continue to change as you age. And as it does, your hearing aid prescription will need to change along with it in order for you to get the maximum benefits from wearing hearing aids.
In the video below, one of our audiologists walks you through the entire hearing loss treatment journey so you can learn exactly what to expect along the way.
How Does Treating Hearing Loss Help Delay Cognitive Decline?
Now that you know how hearing loss should be treated, let’s look at why we think it’s so vital for cognitive health.
First, it’s important to note that cognitive decline is a normal part of the aging process. However, it can happen more quickly when your brain doesn’t get adequate stimulation from your senses like vision or hearing.
People with untreated hearing loss often avoid situations where hearing is difficult. This can lead to social isolation and even further reduction of auditory stimuli. When hearing loss is treated, however, sensory deprivation is reduced and the brain continues to be stimulated, promoting better cognitive health.
Professional Hearing Loss Treatment in Mesa and Scottsdale, AZ
At Advanced Hearing Group, we’d love to be your partner in treating hearing loss. From hearing tests and thorough hearing evaluations to hearing aid prescriptions and other treatment options, we’ll be by your side all throughout your hearing loss treatment journey. We even offer hearing aid repair services to keep your hearing aids working effectively.
Simply schedule an appointment with us today and we’ll help you get on the road to better hearing!
Source: Hear Well-Live Well Blog