When did you realize you needed hearing help?

I am helping a family member get a new set of hearing aids and she told me that she waited 5 years after first noticed she was having trouble hearing before getting her first pair. Is this normal? How long after you realized you were having trouble did you seek help? How did you realize?

Very normal, actually she is above the average. The average time is seven years from when someone realizes they need help before they get their first HA’s.

It was exactly 7 years for me…

I’m 64 and have worked heavy, excavation construction 50 years. My wife who’s known me over 20 years says I’ve had tinnitus as long as she’s known me. During that time I’ve noticed when we go out with another couple the guys have a difficult time hearing in restaurants while the ladies seem to hear. It has progressively gotten worse and I’ve had to work harder to hear so much so that I start to tune out. After a friend got aids a year ago I started considering it. I went to an audiologist last December and she said HA’s would be helpful. At the quoted prices I said I’d wait a bit. My first granddaughter was born before Christmas and I was out to breakfast with the kids in January. I couldn’t hear so much of what was said that I decided to go for the aids. I’ve now worn them from 6am to 10pm daily for over two months. It hasn’t given me super hearing but I can hear better in noisy environments. I no longer have to turn my ear towards the speaker to hear. I’m picking up conversations better especially the highs. My granddaughter won’t be talking for a while but I should be able to hear her.

I first noticed a problem about 17 years ago, right after listening to some particularly loud music in the car. Things slowly got progressively worse, and hearing started becoming problematic about 8 years ago. Meaning it was now starting to interfere with personal relationships and work. It became intolerable 2 or 3 years ago, but money was an issue.

Probably 5 - 10 years after it started … my wife had complained a few times, but who listens to that? :wink: :wink:

I first realized myself for sure when I heard a strange, inconsistent sound in our vehicle, but my wife couldn’t hear it. Then I realized the weirdness that I could only hear it if I was facing forward - it was some normal noise filtered through single sided hearing loss.

Wasn’t long after that I realized I could only hold the phone to one ear, etc.

I would say that I have know for 30 years before I finally got hearing aids.

I got one sooner than the average person, approximately 1 year after I noticed a significant problem. I don’t know when the hearing loss in my right ear worsened from “slight” (which is how it was from age 4 until my mid-30s) to “moderate”, but if I had to guess, I’d say there were 2 significant events that contributed to my needing an aid for my right ear. The first was a flight that left me bilaterally deaf (not quite silent, but unable to hear any speech) for about a week after the travel ended. My good ear recovered but I remember thinking my right ear never did fully recover. Then, nine months after that, I had a fairly traumatic birth experience, and I recall thinking several days after my son was born that the hearing in my right ear had gotten much worse. It was 11 months after that when I had an audiogram done and ordered a hearing aid. I probably wouldn’t have done it so quickly if it hadn’t been so important to be able to hear my very young children babbling and/or crying from other parts of the house.


Diagnosed as a teenager. Didn’t wear hearing aids until my first job after college…

According to one of the Marketrak surveys a few years ago it was 7-10 for acknowledgement and about the same until the ‘treatment path’ had been established - ie the wearing of hearing aids. So, the 17years above is about bang on in terms of the average.

First told I had a problem and first audiogram at 27 years old and first hearing aid at 34. So it would have been 7+ years for me.

First abnormal hearing test about 10 years ago because the family complained I had the tv too loud. Went to ENT surgeon for referral, test showed mild high frequency SN hearing loss and I was told hearing aids would not help. Told to have hearing tested every couple of years. Of course now that result is lost and about two years ago I finally got retested. Now mild to moderate loss in high frequencies. Finally started to find it hard to hear speech in noisey situations and found things harder at work. I was probably partly lip-reading and extrapolating from context a lot more than I realized. I had turned the tv up a little over that time but mostly just worked harder at hearing. The audiologist who did that test told me I would benefit from hearing aids but reccommended a set for $Au 10,000. I got sticker shock and said I would go away and think about it (and save up). I looked up my health insurance(top of the line cover in Australia) and found it only covered about $1,000 - another sign that insurance companies don’t agree with the pricing either. About 6 months later after seeing a different ENT, just to make sure I wasn’t being advised to spend a fortune without benefit, and after an MRI to exclude an Acoustic Neuroma, I went to my current audiologist who offered free trials of Phonak/Unitron but would deal with any brand and was not paid a commission for selling me HAs - most clinics in Australia pay their audiologists commissions on the sale of HAs and there is a lot of vertical integration. I did the free trials then tried Resound for their direct connectivity benefits but in the end the Phonak were just more comfortable and worked for me.

I still think that HAs are way too expensive but at least now I know how the system works and that I definitely needed the HAs. I could not cope without them now. I didn’t get to turn the tv down that much but it sure is easier to hear what is going on. I don’t think I just left it for 8-10 years - I did not think that anything could be done and of course it is very hard to gauge what you lose so slowly. I think if hearing clinics want to encourage people to not leave it too long then recalls for follow up tests every two years for people with mild loss would be helpful.

This is normal, it had taken awhile for a friend of mine to realise they had hearing problems in fact it took them almost 8 years!!!
However my friends hearing loss was not linked with age, it was due to being around high levels of noise in her working environment as a musician. Because of this, I always tell people to invest in some decent quality custom moulded earplugs to prevent hearing damage.

Has anyone used hearing protection before or ever considered it?

I spent 4 years in construction. Hammer drills, ramset guns, jackhammers, etc. Never wore hearing protection. Later, listening to music too loud finally did me in, I can almost remember the exact day. My ears were ringing from the music, which was something I had experienced before, but it never stopped. I wear hearing protection now, at work and when mowing the lawn, because I want to keep what I’ve got left.

I got hearing aids within a couple months of my hearing loss. I got viral encephalitis earlier this year. As I recovered, my hearing did not. I wanted to use hearing aids right away to minimize the impact on my life. I didn’t realize that hearing aids are not glasses and it took me almost 3 months to adjust to the hearing aids and obtain a benefit from them. I wear them all the time now. I went through a pretty deep depression at first when I realized I would be hard of hearing for the rest of my life, but as time progressed I’ve learned to really manage my hearing loss so that I can continue living my life to the fullest. I figure I could have easily been dead from the encephalitis so being hard of hearing is actually a much better outcome.

Love your attitude. I think it is the slow onset that makes it hard for most of us to know when it is time for hearing aids. It just creeps up on a lot of us. Now when I take them off it is like being suddenly plunged into hearing loss again - much more noticable.

I was diagnosed with hearing loss in grade school - possibly even sooner than that. There are a lot of reasons why, but I didn’t get hearing aids until I was in my mid 30s - and even then only had them for a few weeks. I’m 47 now, and going to try again.

I was that kid who failed hearing tests in kindergarten. How embarrassing, right? That was me. At the time, it really wasn’t that bad. I had to sit in the front of the class. And girls got frustrated when they whispered to me: couldn’t hear them. I can’t really say my life was all that affected by it. I wasn’t constantly aware of some deficit I had. Plays, movies, tv, going out with friends— didn’t really give it a second thought or struggle much. It would be my senior year of high school— 12 years later—when I first started to wear hearing aids. I don’t remember how my hearing was then (like, whether I felt my life was affected by hearing loss).

But, as my loss worsened, it certainly would affect my life in my 20s and now 30s. Closed captioning (on tv and at movie theaters), subtitles, max volume on the computer with good headphones, avoidance of social situations, reduced performance in school (well, after college), massive delay of my entry into the workforce. At this point in my life I’m acutely aware of my hearing loss. And this is with hearing aids that didn’t really perform that well or were near the end of their useful life. So not only had I delayed getting hearing aids; I delayed getting new hearing aids when I needed them.

I’m now super-happy with my current aids. I don’t need closed captioning, the volume on the computer is at maybe 25%, and I like talking to people (it’s like I’m meeting the neighbors for the first time!).

I first noticed my hearing loss about 6 years ago, but did not think too much of it. After years of weekend’s shooting and partying(not at the same time;)) in my younger days and then working in the security industry for 25 years attending alarms where the screamers are going(130db for 30 seconds will cause permenent damage). Getting a job as an audio-visual technician 6 years ago made me realize how much damage had been done to my hearing.
I managed to get by but the old story you can only turn the tv up so far before wifey cracks the shits etc, and the tinnitus got worse and worse, so I bit the bullet and saw an audiologist 3 months ago.
Long story short I’m wearing Oticon Ria2 pros, and am enjoying hearing clearly for the first time in years. I’m a happy camper at work and play, but now I have to ask the wife to turn the tv down:p

I worked as a midwife and for some reason one place I worked at did a hearing test, the audiologist was a little surprised at the results given my age, I was then 35. She advised me to get my hearing checked again in a years time. I didn’t. I thought everything was ok and maybe it’d just been an off day. However, in the following years I realised that if I lay with my right ear in the pillow, I couldn’t hear birds outside, if I turned my head over, I could. People at work were looking at me oddly as I hadn’t heard buzzers and alarms on IV’s and I was missing more and more of what my kids said. I went for a hearing test earlier this year and was told I’d lost 80% of my hearing and all the midrange tones. It’s taken me a while to accept it. Got fitted with bilateral aids yesterday and am on the getting used to my world being not so quiet. (It’s made harder as I have ASD as well so I’m on sensory overload now because of all the extra sound coming in.)