THE NEW YORK TIMES – Hearing aids have come a long way.
We heard that phrase a lot—from hearing-loss-community advocates, audiologists, hearing-technology experts, and our test panelists.
Thanks to a combination of technological advancement, increased demand, and legislation, entry-level-priced devices available now are as good as or better than most expensive hearing aids from five or six years ago.
If you’ve tried hearing aids in the past and gotten less-than-successful results, don’t automatically judge today’s devices by the one collecting dust in your drawer.
If you have never considered or tried hearing aids, you first need to make sure you’re a good candidate for them. Get checked out by a medical doctor to rule out factors such as earwax buildup or other medical conditions.
A hearing test at an audiology office is the gold standard, but you can also ask your doctor for a hearing test during your annual physical.
And you can find many online- or app-based screening tests that will give you a basic idea of your hearing abilities. Should you choose to go to an audiologist, you can ask for a copy of your audiogram, which is a chart that details your hearing ability in a range of frequencies.
Much like a glasses prescription details your eyes’ magnification needs, an audiogram can serve to customize the amplification levels on many hearing devices.
It’s important to check your hearing regularly because, unfortunately, many people who need hearing assistance don’t realize it right away.
The human brain is remarkably adept at adjusting to progressive hearing loss, said Angela Shoup, past president of the American Academy of Audiology. As hearing ability and sound input reduce over time, the brain’s pathways change.
This means people are bad at judging their own hearing ability; this is valuable to consider because your level of hearing loss will influence which type of hearing-augmentation device will work best for you … READ MORE [subscription may be required]