If you are reading this little article, you have probably been advised to consider hearing aids. Your reaction to this advice has likely been negative, but it may help to know that this reaction happens to everyone. It is human nature to reject the idea that one's life is changing - we would much prefer to maintain our status quo.
But changes happen anyway, and eventually a time comes when you wonder if in fact hearing aids are for you. Like all complicated decisions, you will find yourself conducting a cost/benefit analysis, much like filling in two columns labeled "pro" and "con." In the "cost" column, you can start with the actual financial cost of the hearing aids. Since it is important to be honest, we need to acknowledge that there is a "social" cost to hearing aid use as well. No matter what age, we consider what others think of us; with hearing aids, will others treat us differently? Will our changed appearance make us feel less self-confident, less attractive, less like our usual self-image? Again, you are not alone. With initial hearing aid use, these concerns do often take precedence. But the good news is, these worries are short-term, an expected part of the adjustment process, and .
What goes in the "benefit" column? Only you can say! Is it the ability to hear your family with more ease? Is it a more comfortable sense of inclusion as you socialize with friends? Is it a renewed appreciation of music and other sounds around you? Is it improved work performance as you interact with clients and co-workers? Is it opportunity to participate again in religious services?
When you've defined the hearing "benefits" you seek, your audiologist will work with you as you get back into the "swing of things," as you adjust to hearing sounds you've been missing, as you improve the quality of your life. You will find yourself wondering why you didn't get hearing help before this point - but that doesn't matter. The main thing is you will have taken a difficult but valuable step forward - and not alone, but with your audiologist's support.
This article was originally submitted by Kris English, Ph.D. and subsequently edited by AAC.