Hearing loss has a significant effect on a person’s cognitive, social, and emotional well-being. Untreated hearing loss can lead to many comorbidities, including depression, dementia, cognitive decline, and falls.
Did you know that untreated hearing loss can have impact on your income?
Research conducted by the Better Hearing Institute, examining the impact of untreated hearing loss on an individual’s household income revealed some interesting findings.
Did you know people with untreated hearing loss can lose up to $30,000 a year annually in income?
This is an astounding amount when considering this annually, over one’s employment career. The research also found that individuals with hearing loss who pursued hearing aids as a treatment option reduced their income loss by 65 to 100%. The percentage depended on the severity and degree of hearing loss. Furthermore, The Better Hearing Institute found that those with untreated hearing loss who had decided not to pursue hearing aids had double the unemployment rate compared to those individuals who wore hearing aids.
In order to effectively communicate at work, hearing is critical! Hearing is important to properly engage with customers, employers, the public, and to ensure overall safety while working. Individuals with untreated hearing loss are more at risk for making errors while at their place of employment, and have difficulties communicating, resulting in losses in compensation due to underemployment. We also know that untreated hearing loss can lead to depression, anxiety, social isolation, and difficulties with emotional health, all of which impact job performance in a negative manner.
Treat your Hearing Loss and Improve Your Performance at Work!
As audiologists and hearing health care professionals, we are cognizant of the fact that people with hearing loss often delay treatment while working for fear of being stigmatized by their co-workers and employers. While it seems worthwhile to keep a hearing loss “hidden” from your employers, the negative results are never hidden and the results can be quite tragic over someone’s life time when considering lost compensation/wages, lost employment opportunities, lost promotions, and an overall lower income upon retirement.
If these aren’t reasons enough to come in for a baseline hearing assessment, call The Hearing Room and we are happy to chat with you about the many reasons why it’s important to monitor hearing health, especially after the age of 60.
Call The Hearing Room today for information on hearing loss, booking a hearing test, and hearing aid options.
What hearing aid technology level should I select?
This is one of the most common questions we hear as audiologists at The Hearing Room. The decision on which technology level to select is determined by the type of hearing loss you have, what type of results you are hoping to achieve with your hearing aids, the environments you are in, and what your personal desires are when it comes to advancements in technology. Higher end hearing aid technology has more advanced features within the processing chip to help the end user extract speech out of background noise in a greater variety of environmental situations. As you move down in technology levels, some features that help a user understand speech in noise are not present and therefore, the user might have a more difficult time in some challenging listening environments (e.g restaurants or busy sporting events). Please be advised that this explanation is oversimplified as hearing aids are quite complicated devices. Your audiologist will be able to describe feature breakdowns between hearing aid brands or even within the same brand in a if you are interested in learning more. If finances are not a concern, the majority of patients would perform significantly better if they chose a high-end hearing aid. If financial constraints exist, audiologists believe that “something is always better than nothing” and a suitable hearing aid within the patient’s budget can still be selected and prescribed.
Which hearing aid style is right for me?
Hearing aid technology has advanced significantly over the last decade. When the time comes to choose a style of hearing aid, almost all of them can accommodate the majority of hearing losses. There are essentially two types of hearing aid styles: custom hearing aids and behind-the-ear hearing aids. The receiver-in-the-canal (RIC) type or receiver-in-the-ear (RITE) style are very popular and compose approximately 80% of the market. They can accommodate almost all degrees of hearing losses, they are small, and extremely comfortable. Most people become accustomed to the RIC/RITE more readily than custom hearing aids. This is because custom hearing aids are generally made of acrylic material, resulting in the patient being able to “feel” it more while it is in the ear canal.
However, there are certainly reasons to select a custom hearing aid. If dexterity is a concern, then a custom hearing aid is often a suitable choice. Custom hearing aids are composed of just one piece that is easy to insert in the ear and can be made large enough for arthritic fingers to grasp. One important thing to note is that style does not dictate price! This is an important myth that should be debunked. A very discrete hearing aid can be purchased for the same price as a large hearing aid as it is the technology on the inside that counts, and determines how well the hearing aid will work in a variety of different environments.
What about rechargeable hearing aids?
Rechargeable hearing aids can be a great option for those who do not want to change hearing aid batteries. Currently, rechargeable hearing aids are only available in the RIC/RITE behind-the-ear hearing aid described above. Dexterity issues could make changing batteries a challenge, and if you are capable of putting on a behind-the-ear hearing aid, then this might be a great option for you. Whether you choose disposable hearing aid batteries or rechargeable, it is important to note that the cost usually evens out over time. While you will pay initially more upfront for a rechargeable hearing aid, the cost of purchasing batteries over the life of the hearing aid will add up to the same amount. Of course, there exist variations in this as battery life is dependent on the amount of time the hearing aids are worn, how much the user streams audio with hearing aids, the amount of hearing loss the patient has, and if the patient uses the aids while sleeping to address tinnitus concerns. The majority of rechargeable hearing aids provide 12-30 hours on a full charge. Click on the rechargeable hearing aids tab to learn more about this topic.
Accessories, Bluetooth and Made for iPhone… what do I need to know?
The add-on accessories available for hearing aids are bountiful and can be very helpful once you are comfortable with using them. They are typically easy to use and involve streaming the sound from your TV, phone, and so on, to the hearing aid accessory and then, into the hearing aids. This improves the overall comprehension of the streamed signal as it is being relayed directly into the user’s hearing aids. The usual add-on accessories include TV devices, remote microphone options and phone devices for both landlines and cell phones. Typically these add-ons connect with some sort of Bluetooth connection or a wireless signal.
Made for iPhone hearing aids are quite are an excellent option due to their ability to connect directly to TV devices, iPhones, iPads, and remote microphones. If you are an Android user, many manufacturers have released a small and discreet clip to allow streaming phone calls. If the accessory options sound overwhelming, a demonstration in the clinic might help as overall, the devices are designed to be user-friendly. Your local audiologist will be happy to help!
Do I really need hearing aid accessories?
Hearing aid accessories can be very helpful and if used correctly, can vastly improve a person’s hearing and quality of life. The amount of hearing loss and how much a user struggles in certain environments can help determine the need for a hearing aid accessory. Your local audiologist would be a good person to walk you through the various options if you are considering any of the add-ons discussed above.
Hopefully this brief overview of the hearing aid selection process was helpful. If you have more detailed questions, call The Hearing Room. Audiologists, Irene Nicholaou and Natasha Manji, would be happy to assist!
Hearing loss can be a large barrier to everyday life. Expressing your feelings, needs, wants, or simply having a conversation with a loved one or grandchild when you have a hearing loss can be difficult or impossible. It is easy to take your hearing for granted until it is impaired and a hearing loss is acquired. Feelings of isolation, depression, anxiety, frustration, and loneliness are very common in those who have a hearing loss. While the effects of hearing loss can be devastating to a person’s overall social, cognitive, and emotional well being, it is important to remember the positive: there are treatment options to address hearing loss, including communication strategies and hearing aids. Taking the first step to accepting your hearing loss and then proceeding with treatment options can significantly improve your quality of life.
One question that arises is: Why is depression more common in those with an untreated hearing loss?
Feelings of depression are higher in those who have untreated hearing loss. When communicating with loved ones becomes challenging and your hearing loss creates an obstacle, people with hearing loss have a tendency to isolate themselves and choose to participate less socially and conversationally. Communication becomes frustrating for all parties involved. The person with a hearing loss can feel frustrated with himself or herself, knowing that they are frustrating those they are trying to communicate with. Overtime, these feelings of defeat and frustration can build up and it becomes easier for a person with hearing loss to detach themselves from social activities and conversation. This can sometimes lead to depression.
Accepting hearing loss can help you to take charge and improve your quality of life.
The first step to improving your quality of life is acceptance of your hearing loss. It is absolutely okay to admit you have a hearing loss! Admitting you have a hearing loss is the first step to improving your overall quality of life. Admitting your hearing loss to friends and family will help them communicate with you better. There are several communication strategies that can be used in order to make conversation easier. Family members and friends can be taught some of these strategies if they aware of the hearing loss and know that you have accepted it and would like help. Acceptance will also bring you one step closer to seeking help from your audiologist.
What are my options?
When you have a hearing loss, there are many options available when it comes to amplification. The first step is addressing your hearing loss, and while this is a big step, please be assured it is a positive one. Your local audiologist will be able to thoroughly assess your hearing and locate where in the hearing system the problem exists. Most hearing losses are permanent, and arise from issues in the inner ear. Based on your hearing test and your lifestyle needs, your audiologist will help you make a decision regarding the best course of action to treat your hearing loss. If your hearing loss is permanent, hearing aids are likely the best treatment option as no other medical intervention is available except in rare cases. An audiologist can help you with selecting a hearing aid, ensuring successful outcomes with hearing devices, as well as providing communication strategies. Hearing aids have come a long way and satisfaction with hearing aids is over 80% for devices purchased in the past 3 years according to recent studies (1). With guidance and care, your journey to better hearing will be a gratifying one!
Would you like to learn more? Call or email The Hearing Room today, they would be happy to help!
The Hearing Room was interested in trialing out new hearing aid technology in the very environment patients with a hearing loss mention struggling in the most -a restaurant environment. Ninety eight percent of participants in the study noted that they struggled most with their hearing loss when immersed in a ‘crowd’ type setting.
How did the Hearing Aid Field-Study Work?
Participants with a hearing loss were asked to fill out a questionnaire during the trial. Information regarding hearing aid technology, aesthetics of hearing aid technology, the importance of connectivity to other devices, the importance of a rechargeable hearing aid option, and the motivation of the participant to improve their hearing health was collected via the questionnaire.
Current research dictates that motivation to use hearing aids and improve hearing health is one of the key elements determining hearing aid success. One hypothesis for this subjective study was: does an increased motivation for hearing health affect the overall outcome in hearing aid benefit?
What was the Outcome?
In this subjective field trial, of the participants that completed the trial, 70% said they were extremely motivated to improve their hearing. Of those 70%, the average improvement in noise for participants wearing the trialed hearing aid technology was 90%; or participants felt they heard ‘satisfactory’ 90% of the time according to the validation questionnaire. The average improvement for those highly motivated hearing aid wearers in a quiet, one-to-one type setting, was an 88% improvement. When this was compared to less motivated hearing loss participants, results for hearing ‘satisfactory’ in noise was 88% on average and 87% in quiet situations. The difference here is slight and likely not significant; therefore in this subjective field trial, motivation to hear better did not drastically affect the perceived benefit of hearing aids. This is likely due to the fact that hearing aids are performing better than they ever have due to the advancements in hearing aid digital chip technology, and participants with hearing loss did not realize how much they were missing until trying hearing aids.
Industry research derived in 2015 indicates that 91%1 of people were satisfied with hearing aid technology purchased within one year of being surveyed, and 77%1 report high satisfaction ratings with hearing aids purchased 2-3 years prior. If hearing the desired speaker in noise is a primary complaint of hearing aid users, and digital hearing aid technology is constantly improving, it is hypothesized that participants would have high satisfaction ratings in noisy environments when wearing hearing aids versus in the same environment, without hearing aids. On average, participants in this trial reported hearing ‘much better’ using their hearing aids in a noisy environment and on average, reported hearing ‘satisfactory’ 90% of the time with hearing aids on versus hearing aids off in noisy situations. While 90% seems very high, this value coincides with industry research.
The Hearing Room would like to thank everyone who participated, we appreciate your help!
Are you interested in this technology or in a complimentary hearing assessment?
Call The Hearing Room for more details: 905-571-1999
Hearing aids have drastically improved over time alongside the improvements in computer chip technology. One question we often hear is why are hearing aids so expensive? Hearing aids vary with respect to the technology inside them. The more advanced the hearing aid, the better the hearing aid is at improving the speech signal and filtering out noise in an intelligent way.
GOOD: ‘Good’ hearing aids are entry level and have some filtering systems and advanced microphone features to enhance speech and filter noise. The audiologist programming the hearing aid has some flexibility to fit the hearing aid to your specific hearing needs and hearing loss. Entry level hearing aids allow you to hear best in environments that have some noise, for example at home, and allow for hearing in one-on-one conversations and quiet group conversations.
BETTER: Advanced technology in hearing aids would be considered a ‘better’ technology. Advanced hearing aids have more filters, better microphone systems to enhance speech, and your audiologist has more flexibility in the software to fit the hearing aids to your specific hearing needs and hearing loss. Advanced hearing aids work better in more environments and can better allow you to hear in small group situations, for example, at a small family gathering.
BEST: The ‘best’ type of hearing aid you can purchase is a premium hearing aid. Premium hearing aids have the most technology in them to filter out noise and intelligently enhance speech. Your audiologist also has the greatest ability to program the hearing aids to you specific hearing needs and to your hearing loss with premium hearing aid technology. Premium hearing aids are the best at handling many different noisy situations and can best handle hearing in larger group situations, coffee shops, in large dining areas or at restaurants/cafeterias.
If you’re interested in trying hearing aids we currently have a promotion across a variety of hearing aid technology levels!
9B - 575 Thornton Road North
Wishing Well Health Centre
12637 Tenth Line, Unit 105