Don’t let hearing loss isolate you from the world!

By Ann L. Rhoten, Au.D., CCC/A
Kentucky Audiology and Tinnitus Services

Don’t let hearing loss isolate you from the world!People – like most creatures on the earth – are social beings. We interact with and relate to other human beings in times of great joy and in times of great sorrow. We find comfort in human touch, reassurance in a familiar face, delight in verbal expressions of love, satisfaction and affirmation.

While it’s true that many, many people lead very satisfactory and fulfilling lives despite the inability to see, or touch, or hear, I think the majority, especially if we have had the benefit of our senses for our entire lives, would be bereft upon losing even one.

So when I hear people talking about not being able to hear as if it is something to be accepted, I just want to die. Hearing loss is a BIG deal! Study after study has shown that hearing loss has a significant and detrimental effect on those who suffer from it. Those with hearing loss become socially isolated, suffer greater cognitive decline, are at greater risk for mental health issues, are less compliant patients, and are generally less safe in their own homes, communities and workplaces.

Over the years, I have been privileged to help men and women of all ages and all walks of life regain their hearing and their connection to their families. The change is dramatic. Yes, they hear again. But they also come alive in a way that delights. Suddenly, the isolation is over. They can participate, interact and enjoy the tiny sounds that make up our everyday lives.

I know there are reasons you haven’t done anything about your hearing loss.
• You don’t want anyone to know. Fair enough. Today’s technology is so advanced, no one has to. Many hearing aids today are virtually invisible.

• You’ve heard hearing aids are expensive. Well, that’s something to think about. According to the hearing aid industry, the average life of a hearing aid is five years. Many of my patients keep their hearing aids eight or even 10 years before buying new ones.  Assuming you keep your hearing aids for 10 years, the cost is between 55 cents per day and $1.36 per day. If you keep your car for 10 years and you bought the average priced car, you would spend $9 per day. Hearing grandchildren, relatives you see only once a year, and the football game is worth $1.36 per day isn’t it?

• They’re not covered by insurance. This is true. But, if you have a Health Savings Account or a Flexible Spending Account for Healthcare, you can use those funds to pay for your hearing aids. Using this strategy may also reduce your tax liability.

Finally, I see many people in my practice who are just afraid to decide for fear they will make the wrong choice.

No worries! At Kentucky Audiology & Tinnitus Services, we offer a no-obligation Flex Trial program that allows patients to try out their hearing aids to make sure they feel right, fit right and work right. Besides the significant financial investment, there are so many choices, it can be quite overwhelming.

How do you know what is best for you at the best price? At Kentucky Audiology & Tinnitus Services, we have several methods that help us determine the most appropriate make and model for your unique listening needs. Before prescribing any device, we complete a thorough case history and comprehensive hearing assessment. Our hearing handicap inventory assesses what situations you experience the most difficulty. Using these tools allows us to select the most appropriate technology for you.

Nonetheless, patients sometimes need to experience wearing a hearing aid in order to make the best decision for their situation. The most convincing and powerful tool is to experience amplification in your own environment and experience the benefits first hand. No matter what make or model you ultimately choose and no matter where you purchase hearing aids, there is always a 30-day trial period, so even if you don’t get to “test drive” your hearing aid prior to a purchase, if you are dissatisfied for any reason, they can be exchanged or returned.

Unfortunately, most hearing aid manufacturers only provide demo models at their premium price points. While this is very helpful, not everyone needs, or can afford, a top-of-the-line device. Unitron, a small Canadian manufacturer has turned the hearing aid world “on its ear” by offering Flex-Trial.

The Flex-Trial program allows the audiologist to program demonstration hearing aids to any level of technology, from economy to premium. With a total of five technology levels, and based upon your history, and unique hearing needs, the audiologist will recommend the technology level most appropriate for you and program the devices for you to take home.

This allows you to try the device in all the situations in which you have trouble and make an informed decision about which technology provides you with the most benefit. Most people try one to two different levels of technology, but there are five levels from which to choose.

Once the best fit is determined, patients can purchase their hearing aids with
confidence in the devices’ ability to significantly improve their lives. If you, a family member, friend or co-worker would like to experience better hearing with no cost or obligation, please contact the office for your “test drive” with a Flex-Trial.
We can be reached at 859-554-5384.

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