What happens if you ignore hearing loss? The negative effects may be more serious and surprising than you imagined. Valley audiologist Michelle Arbini, MA, CCC-A, explains why it’s important to pay attention to your potential hearing loss or that of a loved one. And if a hearing aid is part of the treatment plan, learn why the personalization of a medical-grade hearing aid offers superior results compared to an over-the-counter one. Check out Michelle’s video or the transcript below.
0:15 | What is an audiologist and what do you do for patients?
An audiologist is a healthcare professional who will identify, assess, and manage hearing disorders such as hearing loss, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and balance problems.
0:34 | What are the benefits of being fitted for a hearing aid?
Some of the benefits of being fitted with a hearing aid include improved memory, improved mental function, and improved social engagement and connections with family and friends.
0:50 | What are the potential problems of having untreated hearing loss?
Untreated hearing loss has been associated with difficulty remembering, learning new things, and concentrating, various types of dementia, a lack of social engagement, depression, anxiety, stress, and also an increased risk of falls.
1:13 | What can you tell us about over-the-counter hearing aids?
Over-the-counter hearing aids are new kinds of hearing aids that can be purchased by people who are 18 years or older who believe they have mild or moderate hearing loss. People can buy these devices without a hearing exam or medical consultation. The over-the-counter hearing aid is more of a one-size-fits-all type option for patients. It’s important to understand that there’s no precision in this type of hearing aid fitting. Our obvious concern is that patients will not be effectively treated for their hearing loss and will be at risk for some of the long-term effects of untreated hearing loss.
1:59 | What are the benefits of having an audiologist fit you for a medical grade hearing aid versus buying one over-the-counter?
The benefit of having an audiologist fit you with a medical grade hearing aid allows for specific selection of the hearing aid based on your audiogram. The devices are then programmed and we make sure they are appropriate for your hearing loss. Then we will show you how to use the hearing aid, answer questions and offer counseling, as well as follow-up care over time.
2:33 | How does an audiologist fit you for a hearing aid?
The audiologist will take your audiometric information, program your hearing aid and make sure that the hearing aid is appropriate for your hearing loss. We also adjust specific features such as noise reduction and directional microphones to make sure it’s working in all your listening environments.
3:01 | What can you tell us about the latest technology available for hearing aids?
The latest updates in hearing aid technology are allowing for clearer sound quality and improved listening in noisy environments.
3:17 | If you think you might need a hearing aid or a loved one might need one, what should you do next?
We strongly encourage you to address hearing loss with your primary care provider. Most primary care providers will refer you to the Ear, Nose and Throat Clinic to see one of our doctors, which will include a hearing evaluation. This evaluation will give us an idea of the degree and nature of your hearing loss, as well as any medical intervention that may be needed.
If you’d like to make an appointment for a hearing evaluation at Valley’s Ear, Nose and Throat Clinic in either Covington or Renton, please call 425.690.3602. For more information, visit valleymed.org/ent.