Many seniors experience hearing loss as they age. But many also refuse to use devices like hearing aids. Sometimes it is hard to admit that hearing loss is actually a problem. Others are concerned about the costs involved in having a hearing aid. Still, others simply don’t want to be seen using one.
But a study released by the National Council on Aging shows that seniors with hearing loss that do use a hearing aid feel better emotionally and have better relationships with their families.
Conducted by the Seniors Research Group, the study surveyed 2,300 hearing-impaired adults aged 50 and older. Hearing-aid users reported significant improvements in many areas of their lives compared to non-users.
— 56% reported improved relations at home — 50% said they felt better about themselves — 36% reported better mental health — 40% said that they had improved relations with children and grandchildren — 34% said they had an improved sense of safety — 34% said they had a more active social life
James Firman, Ed.D., president and CEO of The National Council on the Aging said of the study that it “debunks the myth that hearing loss in older persons is a harmless condition.”
How do you know if you are experiencing hearing loss? Talk to your doctor if you:
— find it difficult to hear during phone conversations; — need to turn up the TV or radio so loud it bothers others; — feel like everyone is mumbling all the time; — hear a steady background noise that interferes with your hearing; — can’t understand certain people when they speak to you (women and children often fall into this category because they have a different vocal range).
What does a hearing aid do and how much do they cost?
A hearing aid is an electronic device that amplifies and changes sound. Hearing aids have microphones that receive sound waves. The sound waves are then converted into electrical signals. The amplifier increases the loudness of the signals. The signals are then sent to the ear through a speaker.
Hearing aids can be in-the-ear (ITE), behind-the-ear (BTE), or in-the-canal (ITC).
Hearing aids can cost anywhere between $500 and $6000. Prices vary because cost may include two hearing aids, rehab programs, a warranty, special services, accessories, directional microphones, or insurance coverage.
If you or someone you know is considering getting a hearing aid, you can check out this site online www.earinfo.com. It answers many questions about hearing aids and should be of some help.