Did I give good advice to a co worker?

I have a co worker, a fellow in his early 30s, who complains about his hearing, but doesn’t seem to really want to do anything about it. He says he hears high frequencies fine, as well as low frequencies, but in a car, he has no idea what people are saying. I have noticed that he has difficulty in a one on one conversation in a quiet environment, and really has problems in a noisy environment. I think there may be a bit of denial here. Recently, he was asking about my experience with hearing aids, and indicated that he might be open to getting his hearing tested. I suggested that he go to an ENT, and request a hearing test, but tell them he had no interest in getting hearing aids from them. That way, at least he knows where his trouble is. He doesn’t trust the medical establishment, so he asked about self programming, and buying off eBay. I told him that would probably be his best bet, since he is tech savvy. I told him that there is a learning curve with regard to hearing aids and self programming, but that it wasn’t too difficult. He asked about different brands of aids. I told him I had experience with Phonak, but that I have heard that Oticon has a more “natural” sound, and a different sound processing paradigm that a lot of people like. I also told him that after getting a hearing test, if he wanted to pursue self fitting, I would help as much as possible. I even told him he could borrow my Noahlink to do programming. So, was this good advice?, If not, what should I have told him?

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I think going from not thinking you need hearing aids to self-prescribing and diy-fitting with just advice from a mate will be very difficult. He certainly should get a professional hearing test and see what sort of aids are recommended.

I am an engineer with a life-long interest in audio and it still took me quite a few years before I felt competent to make decisions about my hearing aid fitting on my own. And even now I get them fitted by a professional and tweak myself from there.

So I’m not sure that your advice was that good to be honest.

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Agree that first step is a good ENT type hearing evaluation. But, no step 2 until after step one.

Butt, if he doesn’t trust the medical establishment he could try a witch doctor. Or try wearing a pyramid over his head. Lots of other options. Maybe magic beads.

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I’ll give an alternative opinion. It is not necessary to start a hearing evaluation by seeing an ENT. ENT is a surgical specialty and their expertise is in seeing if you have a problem that may benefit from surgery. An evaluation by an audiologist or even a hearing aid specialist should turn up any red flags that would warrant a referral to an ENT. Telling somebody that they need to see a specialist may be the cautious thing to do, but it is still giving medical advice and may generate considerable expense. I know some states may require a doctor’s referral. In my own state, signing a waiver takes care of it.

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OK, any good hearing evaluation to start. If no problem , no problem. My hearing loss was first identified by a school nurse as part of routine screening. But, if he does have a problem, and this guy is in his early 30s, why? If possible to id, is kinda necessary.

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My feelings is this, I would told him to get his hearing tested and possible a visit to the ENT. As most of you know I personally am against DIY hearing fittings. It is mostly the fact that I know myself, and I would never be satisfied when I had control of the equipment to make changes. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t run into a circumstance that I would not want to make an adjustment for. It isn’t realistic to do so. So I leave that up to the experts, and I have had plenty of go ones a long my hearing aid path.
Lets just say I know enough about electronic, software, and computers that I know when to leave well enough alone,

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@John_Green: I agree with Mr Hendon, as well as with his assessment of your advice. I’m also in agreement with Mr Kemp … Sorry.

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Ok, the reason I suggested an ENT was because their primary reason for being isn’t to sell hearing aids. Any decent Audiologist could do what he needs done. I know him well enough to know that he will think he can do a better job than anybody else. That very well might not be true. And really, if he has no experience in self fitting, it would be better to go to a professional. If his hearing test doesn’t show appreciable loss, hearing aids might not even be what he needs anyway. I’m not going to mention it again, and if he does, I’ll tell him I think he should go to a professional, but be very careful before spending a huge chunk of money on something that might only provide a little relief. And make sure he gets a trial period. I started out self fitting, and honestly never managed to get an adjustment that I was really happy with. Then, there were a series of VA Audiologists, who were a real disappointment. Lately though, I have decided that hearing aids aren’t really going to do very much for me, and I shouldn’t be expecting them to. I have been wearing the last fitting I got at the VA, actually, it was the one before that because the last one just copied the fitting from the time before. I have decided not to do anything major with these settings. They don’t really do a lot, but they aren’t awful either. I like the current VA Audiologist, and want to keep her. My co worker’s hearing problem isn’t causing him problems, so he probably won’t even do anything.
Thanks for the considered replies.

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John I knew I had hearing loss back in the early to mid 1970s but didn’t do anything until my hearing got so bad that it was very much harder to help me understand speech in any environment. So basically I went 30 years without the help I needed. The Audiologist I have now says that I caused myself unnecessary grief with understanding speech.

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You can lead a horse to water… Time will tell

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@John_Green , I’d say if your co-worker asks again, suggest that he go to Costco for a free hearing exam. If he is experiencing difficulties in hearing AND he then gets an objective clinical evaluation that confirms that he has hearing loss, then he can decide whether he wants to actually take action to improve his hearing. One step at a time.

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If he is never been to a doctor, probably no one is ever looked inside his ear.
The problem could range from anything from earwax to some scarring from an old ear infection.
Or, maybe all he needs is a hearing aid. First stop, ENT.

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Guessing he has insurance… Where is the downside to seeing an ENT? Maybe a good cleaning is in order.

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Potentially cost, depending on insurance. Seeing a specialist sometimes has higher copay.
Really not a specialist in hearing–they’re primarily looking for surgical issues.
Depending on ENT, may be a bit dismissive as routine hearing loss is not really what they do. Specialists are often referral only.
If one wants to see an ENT, fine. My quibble is lay people telling somebody they NEED to see an ENT.
I would agree that people with sudden hearing loss or uneven side to side hearing loss should see an ENT. For sudden hearing loss, whatever the quickest way to see somebody is: If one already has an ENT and they can see you, great. Otherwise ER might be a better choice

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Don’t know how representative my experience is but when I saw an ENT he had an audiologist in his office. two different exams but same time & place.

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I suspect that is common. ENTs are not likely to do audiograms themselves. It’s all a matter of perspective. If one wants to see an orthopedic surgeon and get a MRI everytime one’s shoulder hurts, that’s fine although overkill. Same as seeing an ENT for routine hearing loss. If needed, one will get referred to the ENT.

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Since your coworker seems to be med establishment shy, a “safe” first step would be to go to Costco and get a free hearing test. Well, “free” if he already has a Costco membership. Ultimately a visit to an ENT might be in order, but he has to want that. He is young to have such hearing difficulties without a medical problem requiring an ENT, but life style, e.g. loud concerts or unprotected gun shooting, could explain that.

IIIRC you can get a hearing test at Costco without being a member. You would need a membership to get hearing aids.

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Most with that kind of bias ignor any advise anyway so my suggestion would be to not even get involved. You already sound more invested than he is

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How has he (you) established that it’s a routine lost?