Most of the people I know who wear hearing aids do not have “normal” hearing restored.
Hearing aids only help…
Individuals who need hearing aids need to know that they will help, but the expectation that hearing aids will restore the hearing they once had will lead to disappointment. I know a nice guy who experienced this. I’ll call him Phil for the purpose of this post.
Phil developed acute tendonitis later in life. It severely impacts his hearing. The familiar response individuals who suffer from this “ringing in the ears” is, “Hearing aids can’t help you.” So Phil went for most of his adult life (he is in his 60’s now) before he met an audiologist who told him she believed she COULD help him. And she did. She fitted him with a pair of sparkling new aids.
Phil eagerly awaited the arrival of the aids fully expecting and believing they were going to restore his hearing to what he enjoyed as a young adult.
When I saw Phil several months later, I inquired as to how he was doing with his aids. His eyes misted up. His voice had the tone of hurtful disappointment and frustration “…I expected to have perfect hearing again….” I so identified with his response. The painful truth is, as Phil discovered, is that hearing aids help, but they do not restore one to normal hearing.
Like Phil, family and friends fully expected that the hearing aids would restore him to normal hearing. Consequently, they ceased making the extra effort to communicate – being close, looking at him, speaking slightly louder and enunciating words. Well, they, along with Phil, were deeply disappointed and frustrated when they discovered that Phil still had a difficult time hearing. Sure, the aids helped, but they didn’t restore him to normal hearing.
To ensure communication…
Most people assume that if a person has a hearing aid on, they are going to hear okay. And more often than not, the extra effort to communicate is ditched because, after all, “they are wearing hearing aids.”
When I conduct talks and training to those who serve the community, I am emphatic about this: Assume that when a person is wearing hearing aids, THEY ARE still hearing impaired. To ensure communication, use CPR:
C: make sure the person is close and facing you.
P. Pause between short sentences.
R: Repeat and rephrase as necessary.
Practicing the elements of CPR helps ANY communication go smoother, whether with a person with diminished hearing, or a person blessed with normal hearing.
The myth dispelled…
In conclusion, when you see those hearing aids, avoid the assumption that the person wearing them will have no problem understanding you. It will save both of you the disappointment and frustration of complicated, if no, communication. Instead, apply CPR to keep the communication, and connection, alive.