Unlock the Potential in Your Hearing Devices
Hearing vs. Listening
There’s a difference between hearing and listening.
Hearing is a function — detecting and gathering sounds. Listening, however, is a set of cognitive skills — focusing, understanding, and remembering. Those skills are more difficult to use with a hearing loss, because the sounds are harder to recognize.
Use It or Lose It
The saying “use it or lose it” is true for your hearing. Hearing loss deprives parts of your brain of stimulation. The result? Those cognitive skills you use for listening — as well as memory and understanding speech — start slipping a little. In other words, waiting to address your hearing loss takes a toll on your brain.
Unfortunately, when hearing loss makes noisy social situations frustrating, the common reaction is to avoid socializing. This might let you avoid embarrassment, but it also robs you of important personal and social contact.
Hearing Devices Are Simply Tools
Even the most advanced hearing devices, however, only help you detect sounds that you’d otherwise miss. They help you pinpoint speech in a noisy room, but they don’t eliminate the background noise. They also don’t help your listening skills.
When you begin using hearing technology, therefore, you need to adopt certain practical strategies to be successful. Hearing aids are only one part of the puzzle. In fact, people with similar hearing loss can report significant differences in satisfaction and benefit from their hearing aids. Hearing aids are, after all, devices — not brand-new ears.
Custom-Tailored Training to Optimize Your Hearing
The good news? An audiologist can customize methods, strategies, and techniques to your unique situation to help you optimize your listening skills and improve communication in noisy situations. Like physical therapy after an arm injury, counseling and training optimize your hearing and listening skills once you’ve started using hearing devices.
There are also many exercises you can try yourself, for example:
- Watch a TV show or movie, then replay it with closed captioning or at a slower pace.
- While reading a book, listen to it on audiobook as well.
- Have someone read you a news story once through while you simply listen, then have them read it a second time as you read it yourself. Try this in quiet first, then in noisier environments.
- Try computer-assisted training programs, which use interactive training tasks to boost listening and communication skills, improve confidence, and offer communication strategies.
If you or a loved one uses hearing devices, take that important next step of working with a licensed Board Certified Hearing Instrument Specialists to develop a comprehensive strategy for hearing and communication skills — contact us today!