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When and how to get a hearing aid?

Loss of hearing often creates a great deal of difficulty for elders…especially for those living alone. Can hearing aids help? Read to know more about it.


Presbycusis is the medical term for hearing loss caused due to the ageing process and it is the most common cause of hearing loss in the elderly. In most cases this type of hearing loss is not curable or treatable and the best solution is a hearing aid. Using a hearing aid is yet to catch up in India and it is quite common to find hearing aid users rather unhappy with it and strongly advising others not to go for it.


It is not easy for the elderly to accept or even realise that his/her hearing has deteriorated, primarily because it is subjective; the person may not even realise that there are other sounds and noises that others can hear but he/she cannot. And even when one gradually realises it after repeated, and often rude, feedback from others, they may not be willing to accept such a fact.


Hard of hearing can make a person irritable and eventually a social recluse. He/she might be fed up of repeatedly asking people to talk louder because they cannot hear. They usually strain to hear or pick up cues from the relevance of the conversation or lip-read. It simply makes life all that more difficult.


Some common causes are:

  •  Eating habits, such as increased intake of saturated fat
  • Diabetes
  • Exposure to loud noise/music on a continuing basis
  • Smoking
  • Hypertension 
  • Heredity  
  • Ototoxic drugs like aspirin may hasten hearing loss


It is here that hearing aids may be of immense help, but provided you go about it the right way. Simply picking up a hearing aid from a medical centre without proper testing and medical advise can do more harm than good.


How to go about it:

1.     Go to an ENT and find out the cause of hearing loss and see if medication will help cure it.
2.     Check if a hearing aid will be of any use or not.
3.     Always do an audiometry and get your hearing tested by a qualified expert. It is not necessary that the extent of difficulty is the same in both ears.
4.     Go only for options who allow a trial period and understand the terms and conditions completely, before going ahead.
5.     The cheapest is not necessarily the best and the most expensive may be way out of your budget. So, you need to weigh the expense vis-à-vis suitability and then take a decision.
6.     Always go for a hearing aid for both ears. Using a hearing aid in only one ear is pointless and a waste of money. Also, since the extent of loss may not be the same for both ears, a single hearing aid cannot be used in either ear.