Will a hearing aid help or hurt my hearing loss?

Will a hearing aid help my hearing loss?

Most people with hearing loss can be successfully treated with hearing aids. Medical treatments and surgical procedures are helpful for only five percent of adults with hearing loss.

Hearing aids cannot cure hearing loss, but they CAN help you hear better again, may reduce further hearing loss and loss of understanding.

Hearing is a complex process that begins as sound waves with the ears and ends up in the brain where information is received, stored as memory and “decoded” into something that we understand as sound.

When you add hearing aids to boost hearing, the brain suddenly registers long-forgotten sounds. Adapting to hearing aid amplification requires time, training and patience. You are essentially retraining your brain to interpret and recognize sounds, focus on some and filter others out – just as you did previously when your hearing was normal.

Hearing aids can improve your ability to hear and communicate with the world around you, but they cannot “cure” your hearing loss – just as glasses do not “cure” your nearsightedness or farsightedness. With continued use they can help prevent the active loss of the memory of speech sounds, called REGRESSION. Just as you might forget a second language if you don’t use it, so also you will forget the sounds of speech that you can no longer hear, unless your hearing aids allow you to hear and understand them.

Hearing aids are tools to help you manage your hearing loss problem, and while they can contribute significantly to an improved quality of life, they are not perfect. Even with successfully fitted hearing aids, you might still have some difficulties hearing well in some situations. With patience you will find ways to adapt to your new hearing aids, including watching people more closely as they talk and keeping background noise to a minimum when possible.

The key to success is to consistently use your hearing aids, read aloud to refresh your hearing memory of the speech sounds that you have been missing, stay as close as practical to what you want to focus on, keep your ears and hearing aids clean and be patient as you relearn to interpret the sounds that you are once again hearing.

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