Meandering Through the Hearing World
I decided not to make resolutions in 2022. Instead, I will focus on better hearing, what I need for good hearing and what I can do to help myself hear. There are some things that I do well and many other things that I can focus on and do better. Hearing is so vital to our lives. It the sense needed to interact socially. Without good hearing, we struggle with daily encounters and business matters. As a hard-of-hearing or deaf person, we cannot enjoy our families or friends.
As my hearing loss progressed from mild to moderate, from moderate to severe, and then from severe to profound, I recognized the importance of having a good audiologist. I have been with my current audiologist for 16 years. He has a PhD in audiology and deals with all the major hearing aid manufacturers. I purchased my aids from him. Included in the purchase price were fittings for two months post purchase as well as two annual follow up visits. Also included were annual hearing tests and word recognition evaluations. In between those scheduled visits, I have the comfort of knowing my audiologist is there if I should need him. He allows me to make appointments through email, thus eliminating the need for phone calls. During the pandemic, he met with me remotely to ensure that I was doing okay. If you do not have a trusted audiologist who sells hearing devices from all manufacturers, consider getting one.
One of the things I do on a regular basis is to keep track of problems with my hearing aids so that I am ready when I meet with my audiologist. I have Made-for-iPhone aids, and on the Notes App, I list problems with my hearing or aids. Currently, I am dealing with a connectivity problem. I have noted the circumstances under which I am listening, i.e., in quiet or noise, whether I’m streaming music or a Netflix series or speaking with someone on the phone.
I also pay attention to how well I hear in quiet and in noise. It is important to note and tell your audiologist of major changes in your ability to hear. Sudden deafness or a sudden drop in your ability to hear might be the sign of a serious medical problem. Sudden deafness should be considered an emergency.
I also spend time on the internet, looking at the HLAA and Florida Hearing Loss Association of America websites, which are full of information on technology and hearing help. Additionally, I search for information on technological advances and updates and new uses of current hearing technology.
In fact, I found out about my current hearing aids through one of those searches. I read an article about how Artificial Intelligence was used in aids. Last January, I asked my audiologist about A.I. and he explained its pros and cons and which aids had AI. After that discussion, we settled on Oticon More.
Anyone with hearing loss can tell you of the isolation they feel and the difficulties they face in the workplace and in social situations. I spend a lot of time reading articles about how to deal with the social aspect of hearing loss, some of which has ended up as advice in this column. Hearing loss is very isolating. We need to work with our family, friends, and business associates on our needs. We also need to take the responsibility for our own hearing by equipping ourselves with the best hearing devices that we can afford.
I try to attend meetings and seminars virtually or in-person. Florida Hearing Loss Association of American sponsors many seminars and educational sessions. Go to their website and sign up for meeting notifications. Also, and most importantly, FHLAA will hosting the American Hearing Loss Association of America 2022 annual convention, June 23 to June 25, in Tampa. The convention will take place at the JW Marriott Hotel on Water Street. For more information on signing up for the convention or volunteer opportunities visit the website.
In 2022, vow to keep your hearing aids in tip-top shape. If you don’t have one, find a good audiologist and keep your appointments. Allow yourself the pleasure of socializing, even if it is tiring and difficult. Ultimately keeping up with your hearing needs is truly the best way to meander through the hearing world in 2022.