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People often ask us after a hearing test if they need hearing aids. If the person has a moderate hearing loss or poorer the answer is “yes” and we encourage them to give amplification a try. However, with this amount of loss, the hearing impaired person almost always knows they have a loss and is usually motivated to take the next steps to better hearing.
Sometimes it is more difficult for people with slight or mild hearing losses to decide if they should try hearing aids. Mild hearing losses do cause communication problems but the amount of difficulty really varies from one person to another. In these situations a communication assessment needs to be done. Some questions the audiologist may ask are:
Who do you communicate with the most? Can you hear that person? Are you or your significant other getting frustrated with your poor hearing?
How often are you in groups or crowds? Do you attend meetings, church, or family gatherings? Are you having difficulty in these situations?
Do you have difficulty hearing the TV or radio? Are other people complaining that you have the volume too loud?
What are the demands on your hearing? Are you still working? How important is it to hear what clients, co-workers, or supervisors are saying? Are you on the telephone a lot with your job?
How difficult is it to hear in your everyday environment? Is there background noise? Are you listening over a distance?
Is your hearing loss causing stress in your life? Are you less likely to attend social events because you worry that you cannot hear?
These questions help us answer whether hearing aids are needed. We have to take into account more than just the amount of hearing loss and consider how much communication loss results. How we interact with our communication partners is key. They are affected by the hearing loss as well. For this reason it is a good idea for family members to attend these appointmentments with you.
Together, we can answer the question, “Do I need hearing aids?”