The Journey – from the first signs of hearing loss to taking the steps and addressing it.
Hello, my name is Helen Pate, I’m a hearing aid audiologist and along with my colleagues Paul, James, Tim and Steve we cover a large part of the north of England addressing the hearing loss of the general public on behalf of Digital Hearing Care. I’d like to tell you a little about what we call ‘The Journey’, the sometimes long and meandering path travelled to arrive at the point where hearing loss is addressed.
Hearing loss tends to be a gradual process. Hearing loss is invisible and more common than you might imagine. You might start to notice over time that you can hear volume but not clarity. You may find it harder to hear in noisier environments or when in group situations. You may complain that people are mumbling and that the television needs to be louder than it used to be and you don’t always hear the doorbell or the telephone.
On average it is said that the average time it takes to address hearing loss from its onset to finally being prescribed hearing aids is about seven years! Some address their hearing loss sooner and some leave things until much later!
What causes hearing loss?
Hearing loss can be caused by temporary factors such as excessive wax in the ear canal. If more permanent it can be attributed to a number of things, the most common being the ageing process, followed by damage caused by exposure to excessive noise. Other contributors to hearing loss can be hereditary factors, disease, middle ear problems such as perforated eardrums, certain drugs, injury and infections.
How common is hearing loss?
In the UK there are around 9 million people suffering some level of hearing loss, of those around about two thirds are over the age of 60. Over 70% of the population over the age of 70 have at least some measurable hearing loss. It is estimated around 4 million people in this country could benefit from wearing hearing aids but have not yet addressed their hearing loss.
What about tinnitus?
Tinnitus is noise that originates within the hearing system rather than externally. It can be caused by problems in the outer ear such as excessive wax but is usually a symptom of general hearing loss. It can affect one or both ears.
The sounds you hear if you suffer from tinnitus vary in severity and tone from person to person. People suffering from tinnitus can describe it as a “ringing” sound, a “buzzing” sound, a “humming noise, “like running water”, a “whistling” sound or like the “sound from a seashell held close to the ear.”
Typical Symptoms of Hearing Loss
- People seem to mumble more nowadays
- You are often asking family and friends to repeat themselves
- You miss most of the conversation when background noise present
- You mishear conversations
- You struggle to hear what your children/grandchildren are saying
- You have trouble hearing a speaker from a distance
Typical Causes of Hearing Loss
- The natural ageing process
- Excessive exposure to loud or constant noise
- Ear infections or injury
- Medication that is toxic to the hearing system
- Illness or complications at birth
Will hearing aids restore my hearing?
Hearing instruments benefit many people. However, no hearing instrument can restore anyone’s hearing back to normal. The benefits depend on the severity of your hearing loss and the level of technology. The ultimate aim is to restore your hearing as close as possible to natural levels of volume and clarity.
So….. are you ready to take that first step and arrange a hearing assessment?
The Initial Assessment
- We usually call to see you in the comfort of your own home (although some clients prefer to be seen at one of our centres or in the workplace).
- We ask you some questions about your ears and have a look in your ears to enable us to determine whether we should refer you to your doctor.
- We make sure we properly understand how your hearing problem affects you.
- Then we conduct a comprehensive hearing test and assessment to determine your suitability (or otherwise) for hearing aids.
- We then explain our findings to you and answer any questions that you may have.
- We provide you with information on what types and sizes of hearing aids are suitable for you and how much they cost.
- We give you a realistic assessment of what can be achieved with the different types of hearing instrument we recommend.
If at this stage you decide you want to purchase hearing aids the next stage is to take impressions of your ears so we can build to the exact shape of your ear, enabling a comfortable, whistle-free fit.
- One – two weeks after taking impressions of your ears the hearing aids are ready to be fitted.
- We make sure the hearing aids fit comfortably and that you can hear clearly.
- We talk through everything you need to know to get the best out of your hearing aids.
- Your hearing aids are supplied with a sixty day money back satisfaction guarantee.
- We make sure that they are comfortable, sound good and you are getting the benefit expected.
- With regular contact in the early weeks and months we can ensure the hearing aids are working at their optimum and speech is crisp, clear and distinct.
The choice of technology is wider now than it has ever been, which means that the chances of success are greater than ever. We take helping you to hear better very seriously and work hard to make sure you are happy with the end result.
We see aftercare as critical to success. You need to know that the person who supplied your hearing aids is easy to reach and readily available if you have a problem. We are!
Part of our aftercare service is that, should your aids need reprogramming at any time throughout their lifetime, we adjust the response of the aids to your changing hearing as required. There is no charge for this service, and this means your hearing aids can always be programmed up to date with your current prescription. Should your aid develop a fault you also need to know we are there to assist you and get you hearing clearly again.
At Digital Hearing Care we aim to excel at everything we do, to offer more than others, be more helpful, professional and better value than any other hearing aid supplier in the UK.
So How Much Does This All Cost?
There is no charge for the initial consultation and absolutely no obligation. If you do decide to move forward and address your hearing loss based on our advice and guidance, you will pay for the hearing aids that you purchase. Remember, if things don’t work out to your ultimate satisfaction within a very flexible 60 days we can either refund you your money, or alternatively try some different technology. Not everything suits everyone always! Because we can supply just about any hearing aid technology available in the UK you can be assured that we will leave no stone unturned in our quest to make you a happy client!