This morning’s ABC Radio AM program raised important issues that currently exist for people with hearing loss and their family. As CEO of Better Hearing Australia VIC, and as an advocate for quality hearing care that is sensitive to individuals’ needs, I reiterate the importance of consumers being empowered and informed about their hearing.
At Better Hearing Australia VIC, we are uniquely placed to provide education and advice for all persons who have or think they may have a hearing loss and their family. As an independent charity whose mission is to minimise the impact of hearing impairment on the lives of Australians, we exist to ensure that you are empowered and in control of your hearing care. At Better Hearing Australia VIC we:
- Take the time to understand your needs and guide you in your next steps in face to face consultations
- Run Government-funded community education events for over 65s.
- Lead change in how hearing care is provided for all Australians through advocacy and collaboration.
As discussed in this radio program, the research evidence reveals that for many people hearing aids alone are not enough to overcome the daily challenges created by hearing loss. That is, education about communication, support and hearing protection along with emotional and motivational support are needed for you to hear and communicate optimally.
Here are some tips from us at Better Hearing Australia VIC to ensure you are informed as how to get the most from your audiologist and hearing aids:
If you’re considering hearing aids:
- Hearing aids should be chosen based on your communication and lifestyle needs. This is often what differentiates price. Be sure your audiologist knows the details of your daily communication and activities: what sort of environments you need to hear and communicate, who you speak with, whether you engage in activities like music, theatre, sports or other outdoor activities.
- Hold a hearing aid and ensure you can physically manage them: many hearing aids are small and can make it difficult to use them daily with confidence
- Ask your audiologist to explain to you how you should go about getting the most out of the new sounds: hearing aids take time to adapt to, ensure that you feel educated as to what you can do to help yourself adjust.
If you have hearing aids:
- Make sure they’re comfortable including that sound is comfortable. Wearing hearing aids consistently is important for your brain to learn to use the new sound and for most people, it is difficult to wear something that is uncomfortable, even if it is helpful (think wearing a pair of shoes that gives blisters, even if they look great). This goes for how comfortable it is to listen to sounds. If loud sounds are uncomfortable, then ask your audiologist to adjust this.
- Do your family, friends or colleagues know how to best communicate? For everyone (with or without hearing loss) effective communication makes interacting enjoyable and effective. Your audiologist should share information with you about how to communicate effectively, especially in background noise, in addition to wearing hearing aids. Some extra great resources for information can be found here
- If you’re not happy, go back to see your audiologist. Hearing aids are complex but are no match for the complexity of each individual human ear. Getting things working as best as possible make take several appointments; takes notes about your hearing and hearing aids and take them in to see the audiologist.
If you would like independent support on how to live well with hearing loss, hearing protection, and hearing aids or would like to have someone help you navigate the hearing care system, call us on (03) 9510 1577 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We are here to work with you and advocate for you.
You can listen to the full report here: https://www.abc.net.au/radio/programs/am/call-to-regulate-hearing-aid-industry/10792742
Dr Caitlin Barr