By Russ Gentner
Russ Gentner, an audio guy, give his perspective on getting a hearing aid. You will enjoy his comments.
I admit it, I never had my hearing checked until a few weeks ago. That’s kinda ironic for a guy who provides assisted listening solutions! It wasn’t a surprise to me that I have significant hearing loss in my left ear and some age related hearing loss on my right side. Like most people, I wasn’t that interested in using hearing aids. My “perception” was that they are for “old” people. Of course, now that I’m 55 years old, my definition of “old” keeps changing…. None the less, it’s just not that exciting to think about wearing hearing aids.
Or, so I thought….
A hearing aid is just a sound system in your ear
However, it occurred to me that if I was a true audio guy, I would want to actually HEAR as much of the audio spectrum as possible AND a hearing aid is really just a little sound system in my ear – it has a mic (actually two), an equalizer (DSP) and a speaker. So, I focused on losing my alignment of hearing aids and old people and focused on improving my hearing with some really cool technology.
Hearing aids are like glasses
The results have been amazing. I now can hear things I didn’t realize I couldn’t hear before. It’s just like getting glasses, contacts or Lasik. I can see just fine without visual correction, but with visual correction the fine details pop out. Hearing aids have done the same thing for me – they allowed the fine details to pop out. Music is clear and crisp. It’s easier for me to hear people talking. It’s NOT like putting on a headset where everything gets louder. It’s much more subtle than that. You just hear frequencies and parts of sounds that you didn’t hear before. The turn signal in my car sounds different. I can now hear the crickets.
But here’s the real kicker. The hearing aids I purchased (Phonak), have a Bluetooth interface (called “iCom”) I wear around my neck and inside my shirt. No one can see it. Now I can talk on my phone, listen/talk on my computer and I can listen to audio off of my iPhone wirelessly. I no longer need a headset because I have one built in to my hearing aid system. The only problem with this is that people look at me talking on my phone and they think I’m talking to myself…
Consider getting your hearing checked
Have you had your hearing checked? I’ve talked to a lot of people about this and I find that most have not. It turns out that the sooner you get a hearing aid, the less articulation loss you’ll have over time. With less audio spectrum to deal with, your brain actually forgets words it can no longer hear and guesses at the word. A hearing aid allows the brain to once again hear the word and relearn the word. The longer you go without stimulating your brain, the less likely you’ll have the ability to retrain your brain.
There are some informative videos at the Hearing Loss Association of America.
Thanks for listening…