There is no doubt that the recent advances in hearing aid technology (which some might say have been a long time coming!) have made a huge difference to many people’s experience of managing their hearing loss.
But we do know that for some starting out on their journey to assisted listening, the pitfall of expecting too much can lead to disappointment. There is still a public perception that wearing hearing aids has much the same effect on hearing as putting glasses on does on eyesight. These high expectations are also sometimes experienced even more by family members, friends and work colleagues. Even the most supportive ‘significant others’ may give up their helpful practices (looking at the hearing impaired person when they are talking, not shouting from another room/another floor, being considerate about background noise) and then expect the hearing aid user to make all the effort. The greater the amount of money that has been spent on the hearing instruments the greater the expectations can be.
Not everyone feels confident enough to ask for help or even to go back to their hearing aid dispenser to see if adjustments can be made if needed. We don’t all want to draw attention to ourselves and to what others might perceive as our weaknesses. For some hearing impaired people, their hearing loss remains something they wish to keep hidden.
Good communication should be a basic part of everyone’s life and we can all learn to make conversation more enjoyable by being a bit more thoughtful. Learning coping strategies and listening skills can give a hearing impaired person more confidence to express their communication needs.
Asking for help is not a sign of weakness or an indication that you have wasted your money. Maximising your hearing whether you have hearing aids or not, or whether they are standard aids or come with all the latest technology, using them to their best can lead to better quality of life and stop that feeling of isolation.