I want to talk a little about hearing aids today. I’m pretty sure most people know what those are, including how they work. There are analog and digital hearing aids. I’ve used both, and right now I’m using a digital one. Analog hearing aids basically just amplify the sounds they receive. There’s no tuning or anything, just raising the volume and hoping that you can HEAR THE THING.
Digital works a little differently. It does amplify the sound, but it also tries to filter out unnecessary sounds and things that can make it harder to focus on voices and hear what people are saying. There’s also the possibility of being able to toggle different settings so you can choose whether to have it set for a large auditorium where you need to hear the speaker or a loud party where you’re trying to focus on just the one person you’re having a conversation with.
Either way, hearing aids are expensive. And yet they’re also pretty necessary for HoH folks who don’t know sign language and/or are exclusively around people who hear and don’t do sign language. (Like me.)
But the thing with hearing aids is while they can be pretty fantastic, they are not a fix. They just help capture what your ears no longer can, but that doesn’t mean they capture what you want. And then there are a host of other things that can get in the way of that.
Mumbling, covering lips, whispering, yelling from a different area of the house… All things that while maybe you can kind of hear the voice, you can’t make out the words. And you’re expected to because that’s what hearing aids are for, right?
Once you have a hearing aid, that’s supposed to be the fix. That’s it, you can hear. But it doesn’t work like that. Raising the volume doesn’t necessarily mean you can understand; processing the auditory input you get is another adventure in itself.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve had someone in my family say “you got a new hearing aid - you should be able to hear me now!” Which, yes, maybe I have a new hearing aid, but it still doesn’t work like that? And maybe I can hear you, but understanding is something else. What’s more, there’s only so much I can do, and it’s probably more frustrating for me than it is for you.
What’s the point behind this post? Hearing aids aren’t the perfect fix, and it’s important to recognize that. Be patient and also recognize your speaking habits and how you communicate with other people.
Tomorrow I’ll cover cochlear implants, which are also amazing but not a fix either.
Source: Me and my trials with a hearing aid