On March 6th I participated in the Senior Forum, an annual event held at Christopher Newport University and sponsored by the Peninsula Agency on Aging. I did as many hearing screenings as I could between 8am and 12pm and had a chance to chat with quite a few people about hearing loss.
The first person I saw was a nice, 85 year-old lady. She didn’t want her hearing screened, at least not at first. She wanted me to show her how to use the hearing aid she had purchased through a newspaper ad.
She was sincerely interested in better hearing but had no idea how to get there, and the marketplace isn’t helping. Seniors are bombarded by more advertising than ever, and almost all of it is focused on the product. Every ad I’ve seen in the local paper (except mine) focuses on a particular product. Every internet site focuses on the product. Lee Majors and Dr. Bob Arnot focus on their products.
Don’t pick a product! Pick an audiologist who focuses on the process!
I’m speaking in a variety of settings this year about the process of better hearing. It involves an audiologist. It involves a detailed evaluation of the patient’s hearing history, their hearing problem, their listening lifestyle, and their goals for better hearing. It involves the precision measurement of the sound a hearing aid makes in the ear canal (Real Ear). It involves follow up and fine tuning. It involves an assessment of goal attainment. And yes, it does involve a product. But that product is just bits of plastic and metal without the skill of an experienced audiologist.
Don’t be misled by the ads. Many products perform in a similar manner and many hearing loss configurations can be properly addressed by lots of different hearing aids. Get a good audiologist.