Embrace Hearing

It is very rare that a person with hearing loss self-diagnoses the issue. While hearing loss can begin in your 30’s, the long gradual decline can be barely noticeable on a month to month or even year to year basis. In addition, as hearing declines, our brains adjust and we become remarkably effective lip readers, particularly of those we spend the most time with. We don’t even realize we are lip reading until we see that we can only understand people when they are directly in front of us.

Some of the signs of hearing loss:

  1. Asking friends and family members to repeat information frequently.
  2. Increasing the volume on the radio or TV to a level that’s uncomfortable for individuals with normal hearing.
  3. No longer enjoying social activities like group dinners at restaurants. Your friends think you have lost interest in them when really its just that you struggle to hear well in groups
  4. You constantly ask people them to repeat what they said or it appears that you forget what was just said (because you didn’t actually hear it).
  5. You miss the beginning of conversations because it’s hard to hear them and then when you jump in, they say “that’s what we were just talking about!” 

What to do about it? First of all, don’t assume you need hearing aids. Just get a hearing test. This is a good step for your general health. Declining hearing can be an early sign of something more serious. Hearing test are quick and easy to do. They normally take about 30 minutes.

  1. Make your appointment at a local ENT (ear/nose/throat) doctor or a local Audiologist. They have the most experience and give the best tests. Avoid chains and big box stores. We suggest getting a recommendation from a friend or family member but your regular doctor will also know someone locally. If you need help, let us know and we will do some research for you. We usually look at HealthGrades to find local Audiologists. 
  2. If they say the test is free, they will not likely give you a copy. Be sure to tell them you will want a copy of the test when you book the test. They might charge you $80-$100 for the test but you will be able to have a copy and buy your hearing aids anywhere you like. Most Health Insurance companies will cover the cost of test.
  3. Ask them to measure your "Word Recognition" as well as the standard 'tone' test. This should not cost anymore but is very good information regarding how you will benefit from hearing aids.

After the test. If your hearing level suggests you could benefit from amplification, the audiologist will likely try to sell you hearing aids. You might be shocked at the cost of hearing aids from these local retail outlets. Don’t buy right away – check around, look online. Our prices tend to be about 1/3 of the prices of local retailers. Simply ask them for a copy of the test and say something like “it’s a lot of money, I need to check around”.

A few common ‘reasons not to buy’ and some responses from hearing professionals.

I’m not that old. An estimated 50 million people in the United States have a hearing loss but less than 25% of all people who need hearing aids actually get them. The majority (65%) of people with hearing loss are younger than age 65. These people are active in the work force and a lack of hearing can reduce performance and frustrate co-workers.

I can hear what I need just fine. What are the benefits of getting hearing aids? Beyond the obvious ability to simply engage socially the way you did when you were younger, a study from the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University found that hearing aids may slow cognitive decline tied to hearing loss. The study found that estimated 20-year rates of decline in memory and global function were greatest in participants who did not use a hearing aid. Earlier studies have linked hearing loss to dementia and cognitive issues. Another Johns Hopkins study showed that people in middle age (40-69) with even just mild hearing loss were nearly three times more likely to have a history of falling. The intensive listening effort demanded by unaddressed hearing loss seems to take cognitive resources away from what is needed for balance and gait, researchers have suggested. And a 2014  study found that hearing loss is associated with an increased risk of depression in adults of all ages.

I can’t afford them. Most people that have a hearing test that recommends hearing aids are shocked by how much they cost. While a local audiologist is the best place to get a hearing test, they charge on average $4,500 for a pair of hearing aids. That is clearly a lot of money. Not surprising, just as has happened in many industries, the internet has increased the power of the customer to shop around and pay only what they need to. Embrace Hearing sells the same premium European hearing aids for about 35% of the cost you would pay at retail.

There is too much risk to buying them online. Embrace Hearing offers a 45 day free trial period and is the #1 Rated Hearing Aid company by Consumer Affairs.

Hearing aids are ugly. What is available today is ‘not your grandfather’s hearing aid’. You would not be surprised to find that just like everything electronic, hearing aid technology has advanced to the point where the premium aids are almost invisible. Embrace Hearing sells exclusively the latest technology in “behind the ear, receiver in canal” hearing aids. These are tiny, discrete and yet deliver crystal clear, natural sound.

 

But, first thing is first. Long before you get hearing aids, you just need to get a hearing test.

Some additional reading:

  1. Why wont they get hearing aids? The New York Times
  2. The Complete Guide To Hearing Aids. Embrace Hearing