Over the past few weeks, patients coming to the office for routine service and have made comments that range from “I haven’t worn these in months” to “I don’t wear them as often” when referring to their hearing aids. We have taken the opportunity to present reasons why patients should consider continuing to use their hearing aids despite (in some cases) very different communication needs during this time.
- Using hearing aids in our living space keeps us in touch with surroundings, possibly helping our balance. Research has shown that those with untreated hearing loss have a higher incidence of falls.
- Improved hearing helps us communicate better with those that share our living space. Simple communication exchanges are still important ones, and wearing hearing aids can reduce the incidence of communication breakdowns and associated feelings of frustration.
- Present circumstances can lead to feelings of sadness, isolation, and even despair. Adding hearing loss and the inability to connect with surroundings could make those feelings worse. Using hearing instruments could help improve our mood by enabling us to hear simple sounds like birds chirping or the wind blowing through the trees, sounds that may be refreshing and help to lift our moods.
- Using hearing instruments allows us to keep the auditory system and brain processing of sounds in “good shape” for when communication does happen and for when social opportunities do arise. If the hearing instruments haven’t been worn regularly for some time, there will be a learning curve once they are worn.
Many have cited concern over losing the hearing aids due to the position of face masks as a reason for not using the hearing aids as often. While there is no fool-proof solution for this concern, there are some suggestions that can help (see this link on the AARP.org website or click the photo below). Being mindful during the act of removing a mask while wearing hearing aids will go a long way to loss prevention. If the mask is removed while a person concentrates on something else, he/she may not be aware that a hearing aid has been dropped.
As an aside, if a person is considering hearing aid replacement, styles of hearing aids worn in-the-ear instead of over-the-ear may make sense so as to reduce the interaction with a mask. Some models of in-the-ear hearing aids are available fully-featured, with rechargeable batteries and the ability to be paired with SmartPhones.
Communication with others is more challenging than ever at this time, so the argument for continuing to use hearing instruments is a strong one, even for those whose social activities have been lessened or for those who live by themselves. Brain stimulation is key, and hearing aids are one way to achieve that. Keeping our moods light and our minds in shape will enable us to fully enjoy each day (altered as it may be), our current and future communication exchanges.
By Heather Eck, AuD
Doctor of Audiology
Integrity Hearing Solutions VIA Willow Valley
Dr Heather Shenk is a licensed Audiologist in the state of Pennsylvania. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Audiology and a member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
Dr. Shenk is dedicated to providing patients with the highest quality of professional care that is based upon each patients individual needs.
Integrity Hearing Solutions VIA Willow Valley
Did you know that Willow Valley Communities has an audiology department with services available to residents and non-residents alike?
UPDATE: Integrity Hearing Solutions at Willow Valley Communities is currently open to residents however, we are temporarily closed to visitors. Please visit this Willow Valley Communities webpage for updates: https://www.willowvalleycommunities.org/coronavirus/
Integrity hearing solutions VIA Willow Valley is a full-service hearing health care practice located on Willow Valley Communities Manor campus. New patients are always welcome.
At Integrity Hearing Solutions, we approach hearing loss differently from others in the industry. During consultations, we emphasize education because we believe people make the best decisions when they understand their options. And we facilitate the purchase of hearing aids through nation-wide discount programs to achieve the best pricing. Typical savings are about 30% off of private practice pricing.
In the spirit of Willow Valley Communities, Integrity Hearing Solutions was established to promote health and well-being. We are committed to our mission of helping individuals lead a vibrant, active lifestyle. Integrity Hearing Solutions services are provided in the Willow Valley tradition of advocacy and honesty.