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Why Most Americans With Hearing Loss Haven't Purchased Hearing Aids

Aug 15, 2008
80% of americans who have a hearing loss haven't purchased hearing aids. Why is that the case, though? It's not because the technology doesn't help people, there is amazing digital hearing aid technologies available that are unbelievable. It's not because anyone who has a hearing loss doesn't realize how important their hearing is to them, no matter how much they are in denial.

I believe it's because we are not told by the medical community that one of the most serious consequences of loosing our hearing is losing our ability to process sounds into words. First let me ask you, did you know that? If not, you're not alone. 99.9 % of all the patients we see in my private practices have no idea what I'm talking about or what that means.

Please read carefully, sound depravation due to a hearing loss can cause the lost of your ability to process sounds into words. Usually the more prolonged and the more severe the hearing loss the worse the ability of processing and understanding words becomes. In my private practices we have about 8% of our patients who have zero discrimination or ability to understand words.

How do we know this? It's very simple; we have our patients repeat a calibrated phonetically balanced word list. This is given to the patient at MCL or where they can hear the words at their most comfortable level. No help such as lip reading is allowed. The percentage of the words repeated correctly is calculated. Using this calculation the prediction of how much word understanding anyone will receive from a hearing aid is quite easy. In my practices we always run aided word discrimination tests to confirm this.

The reason why people are so frustrated with hearing aids is because they came into our offices to get help and thought they could walk out hearing everything. We know the hearing aid is doing its job correcting the hearing loss because we run speech mapping on every patient. Unfortunately the hearing aid cannot compensate for the patients word processing ability.
When they can't get back their expectations of hearing words again, guess who they blame? They blame us or the hearing aid.

The word has spread to those 80% out there in fact I bet you've heard that hearing aids don't work and are a waste of time and money. I believe everyone knowing they could loss their word understanding would get help when they first noticed they were missing words. I wear hearing aids because I have a high frequency loss and I don't want to loose my word understanding. That would be deviating for me because at 58 I have dreams I want to come true and I'm still working on them. Communication at all social levels is just too important to me.

Now you know if you have a hearing loss you can make an educated decision for yourself. The responsibility to communicate accurately for the rest of your life is where it should have been all along in your hands. If you're like me, it's a no brainer. Now you know why: Early detection and Correction is so important.
About the Author
Gemma-Leigh Garner is an expert blogger and freelance copywriter that writes on many different health related subjects such as ear digital hearing aids and assistive hearing devices and other current events.
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