Not only can treating your hearing loss prevent feelings of loneliness, depression, anxiety, falls and dementia, according to one study published in the journal Trends in Hearing, “Social activity level increased and social participation restriction decreased significantly after hearing aid fitting in the intervention group compared to the control group.”
It’s a misconception that all you need to do to treat your hearing loss is purchase hearing aids. In fact, there is a whole process involved called aural rehabilitation. We review what this entails below.
First, you will need to undergo a thorough audiological assessment conducted by an audiologist. This type of assessment usually involves a number of tests, which include:
- Pure tone audiometry
- Speech testing
- Auditory brainstem response (ABR) testing
- Otoacoustic emissions (OAEs) testing
The results of these tests are then plotted on an audiogram, which is a graph that visually represents your hearing loss.
The next step in the processes is a needs assessment. In order to prepare for your needs assessment, you should compile a list of situations where you can’t hear or communicate well, as well as what your goals are for these scenarios. You may wish better to hear your grandchildren’s voices at holiday parties, or you may want to be able to better hear the sopranos in the Diablo Vista Chorus.
This step is when hearing aids come in. Based on your audiological and needs assessments, your audiologist will prescribe one or two hearing aids, which are medical devices that work by amplifying sounds to a level your ears can easily hear. If your hearing loss has significantly progressed, you may instead be prescribed cochlear implants, which work by bypassing the damaged parts of the ear.
After your hearing aids are fitted, your audiologist will counsel you on healthy communication strategies to help you converse more easily. They may give you tips about reducing background noise or changing the settings on your hearing aids to match your environment. This step is especially crucial during the holiday season, so you’ll be able to hear everyone at the dinner table.
For more information about aural rehabilitation or to schedule an appointment with an audiologist, call Valley Audiology today.