Do I really need hearing aids right now or should I wait?

Hi, I just had my first audiology test at age 74 and the Kaiser audiologist recommended hearing aids for ski slope type hearing loss. I have some difficulty hearing my mumbly husband, and when in a noisy environment like the grocery store have to ask people to repeat themselves, but in general I feel I can hear pretty well. Is there a down side to waiting until the hearing loss becomes bad enough to actually interfere with my life? The audiologist said as you age it gets more difficult for the brain to adjust to the new way of hearing with hearing aids and the result is worse. Some also say early correction could prevent dementia. I’m very active and in good shape mentally so I’m not too worried about dementia, but is it true it’s harder to achieve good hearing aid results if you wait too long? Thanks for any insight into this!

Here’s the thing…no one wants to have to need hearing aids. Particularly the cost. If you were motivated enough to walk in to a hearing clinic and get tested then you’re ready. Particularly with that audiogram. Your husband sounds mumbly because your hearing is missing much of the higher frequency elements of speech. I bet his speech has not changed and you were previously fine with it.
Noise can be a challenge for the normal hearing too.
I suppose there’s the possibility that you could get by with amplifiers with an equalizer. But also Costco has excellent hearing aids at a much lower cost than clinics.

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Thank you for your response. Cost is not a primary issue, thankfully, but there are other reasons I’d like to put this off. I’m a violinist and know that my musician friends have been really frustrated with their hearing aids. The audiologist said I should wear my hearing aids all day, ie not take them off when I’m playing music. Also, I use a sleep apnea machine at night and the thought of dealing with another device — technical issues, cleaning, keeping track of supplies — is really off putting. I’d much rather spend my time and energy on other things. It’s a balance to maximize quality of life. I was just wondering whether I would be endangering future success with hearing aids if I waited until I felt subjective need.

You’re close to my age. You wanted to know if you should wait. I’m trying to figure out what exactly it is you’re waiting for

The fact that you have some difficulty hearing your “mumbly husband” suggests it is already impacting your life. You have a significant loss. I would encourage trying hearing aids. If they don’t improve your life, you can return them.

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Has your husband always been mumbly? As for wearing all day if you play better without them take them out. As far as maintenance lots of folks on here seem to go overboard.

I started wearing them a 47 about where you are now. I wore my hair short and was very open about them. I am now 60 and wouldn’t consider going without them. People do mumble, but it wasn’t a problem before hearing loss. Wearing them is a gift to those around you so they don’t have to hear “what” all the time. I do minimal maintenance. I change batteries about every 5 days and clean them every other week or so…maybe. I just learned on this forum last week that many put there HAs in a “dryer” at night. I’ve never used mine! Your AuD is offering good info about wearing them all day. Of course if playing an instrument with them in bothers you, you can take them out for that hour, or you can turn them down. Currently, you are not used to hearing things at the level you used to, so there is certainly an adjustment period with all the new stimulation. I’ve heard that it takes about 6-9 months of daily wear to get your brain to relearn how to hear the sounds you have been missing. I observed my brother, who is now 71, not wear his HAs because it was “a pain” and I then observed him gradually participate less in family gatherings. I challenged them to wear them all day every day and after a month noticed him commenting on hearing things he didn’t realize he was missing… It happens so slowly we don’t realize it. So my opinion is that it does impact how we age. The other nice thing is that most now offer bluetooth streaming, which I love. Calls go right to my ears from my cell. I can listen to audio books or music any time without ear buds.

I am so thankful that the technology is available and plan to take advantage of every new improvement – even considering a cochlear implant in my left ear. It tanked in the last year or so, so I want to be proactive.

Feel free to ask away on this forum. It is an incredibly helpful source of info and support.

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Yes, all these replies have been helpful. I’m especially relieved to learn that removing the HAs a couple of hours to play music will probably be ok.
I’m obviously still a bit in denial and also pretty ignorant about hearing loss and HAs. I went through this same process (consulting an online forum) following my sleep apnea diagnosis and it helped me became more comfortable with the idea and knowledgeable about the benefits and down sides, the devices, etc. I’m going to talk to a couple of my friends about their experiences and hopefully a referral to a private audiology group to verify the Kaiser results. I’ll be reading here about the various types of HAs and will no doubt be back to ask questions about all the fancy technology.
Thanks all.

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I know it might sound strange for some, but, take your violin in with you when you get fitted and fine-tuned.

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@llama.06upward your audiogram is not that different from mine. And I’m pretty new to hearing aids (like several months). Some things I’ve noticed:
All of a sudden I can hear words correctly … I had thought some people just didn’t speak clearly, but the fact is I didn’t hear clearly.
Birds! OMG we have a diverse population in the neighborhood. I thought every now and then a bird came through, lol!
My TV is now much lower.
So many other things. Some not even great … guess whose car makes much more wind noise than I thought?

Your hearing loss is in the frequencies that help you hear consonants. I’d guess in any group setting you have some trouble and maybe even withdraw a little.

Highly recommended.

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I think the bottom line is - do you want to hear better? While hearing hearing aids would be a kind thing for others around you, ultimately you have to want to hear better. If you do, then you’ll put up with whatever hassle hearing aids require.

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A number of years ago one of my patients played accordion in bars, when adjusting his hearing aids one time he brought the accordion along with him and I set a special program just for when he played. When we walked out of the fitting room there were about four people in the reception area and he got a round of applause for the “mini concert” with the accordion.

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Thank you for the suggestion to take my violin to the fitting. I will do that.
I guess I should look for a thread on here about what HAs work best for classical musicians, which ones can be programmed as you described. One woman I played string quartets with adjusted her HA for music but then she couldn’t hear what we were talking about during the rehearsal — it was either/or. I wonder what are the best HAs for this situation.

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Look around for HA’s more suited for musicians. I believe Phonak do. Then set therm up as you would normally. Then add a custom program that you can switch in and out of for playing.

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You said it yourself. It’s a quality of life issue. What could be more important to one’s quality of life than being as healthy as you can such as having good hearing?

My hearing loss is similar to yours. I am 67 and started wearing hearing aids seven years ago. And yes, I wear them 14 hours a day. This is the best way to maximize the benefit of having them. It also is the best way to teach your brain to get used to hearing things that it would otherwise not be hearing.

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From my own personal experience over 10 years, if you do opt for hearing aids, don’t feel/think that you will hear like you did when you were young. There are still going to be issues. IF again you do opt for hearing aids, be sure to request that the telecoil be included in them along with bluetooth. Adding the “coil” to hearing aids is at no charge. Most don’t hear much about the coil, but, from personal experience, it’s a great thing. When used, it’s like you never had a hearing loss. Some will say that it’s unnecessary & bluetooth is the same or better, not so. Some will say the coil is “old technology”, not being used anymore, being phased out. NOT SO. I could go on and on, but ask for it to be included.

Yes, Costco has good hearing aids at very good prices & their free hearing test is really good. Just found out this morning that the Costco hearing aids, although made by top mfrs., are not equal to the same brand purchased from an outside audiologist/ENT. Programming is a bit different; not all accessories are available to Costco hearing aids. Having issue still w/new ones from C. Researched online. Found an accessory I thought would help me; Told I’d have to go to an outside source to purchase the accessory or to have it “turned on”. Costco isn’t able to do that or does not sell some of the accessories. Just an FYI!

It takes a while to “try” them. Costco offers almost 6 months to do so for a full refund. My original audiologist/ENT offers 30 days and a partial refund and restocking fee. But, again, programming/accessories relating to Costco hearing aids vs same brand bought outside source are not the same so “trying” them can be difficult if you can’t get the whole package!

Why do posters persist with the notion that Costco aids are inferior. Such BS. Jabra aids from Costco are equal to ReSound One aids. The only exception is that Costco will not enable the tinnitus management feature.

And you can get every accessory that’s available for ReSound aids for the Jabra aids at Costco.

I could go on with similar examples for the KS10 and Phonak aids.

Please stop with the disinformation!

And with regard to the telecoil, I had it in my first aids over two decades ago and didn’t find it all that useful. I can see the arguments both ways, but in my personal experience I see little use for it.

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And you can turn it on your self if you DIY, or you can have another provider turn it on for you, and still have a ton of savings left over even after paying another provider to turn it on.

WH

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