Treating Hearing Loss with Hearing Aids Could Mean Turning Up the Sound on Life

February 23rd, 2015 | by Andreas Seelisch | Hearing Loss

By Jeff Rosen, Editor of Kol Echad, the official publication of the Forestdale Heights Lodge. Article appears as printed in the Kol Echad.

Can you teach an old dog new tricks? I guess that depends on the “dog” and the “trick” in question. It is a riddle that I hope to soon resolve.

Back at our December meeting, audiologist Phyllis Bensoussan from Hearing Solutions spoke about the problems related to hearing loss. She stressed that most people over 50 should have their hearing tested, pointing out a hearing problem can get worse as a person ages if not properly treated. As a result, Lisa and I took advantage of the free test to determine how well our auditory system was functioning.

It came as no surprise when I was told that I had a hearing loss. It is something I have learned to live with for over the past four decades. A number of years ago, I tried an assisted hearing device, but found the contraption both uncomfortable and, in the end, quite useless. On one occasion, the thing stopped functioning while logged in my ear, blocking out all sound. This time out, I was impressed by how the technology had changed and decided to try it. After all, what did I have to lose?

It took me a few days to learn how to put it on, especially when I attempted to do so in front of the mirror, where everything appears backwards. However, I soon mastered the manoeuvre.

So, you’re probably going to ask, has the hearing aid helped? For the first time in many years, I can sit in a crowded room and actually hear what people are saying, rather than just smiling and nodding, pretending to understand. If Lisa is sitting on my left side and talking to me, I can hear her. Believe me, it is a beautiful sound to hear.

Perhaps the biggest difference comes in the evening, when I remove it. I really notice the difference as the world around me becomes just a bit quieter.

Now that an AHD (assisted hearing device) has joined my trifocals as an aid to help me get through day-to-day living, I face a new challenge (and hence the new trick). Since I acquired a hearing problem early in my life, I learned to adapt. Where possible, I would orient myself so that my good ear was closer to a speaker. When using a telephone, I would position it so that it was easier to use with my right hand/ear.

After I picked up my new hearing buddy, I listened to someone on the phone with what had previously been my bad ear. It was a strange sensation, not only understanding what the person on the other end of the conversation was saying, but holding the phone with my left hand.

So the real question is, can I modify my behaviour or will I continue to favour what used to be my good side?

We will just have to see. Of course, given the time lag between writing this piece and its publication, I may have already answered my own question by the time you read this.

Whatever happens though, I think that most of us will agree that December’s guest speaker was one of the best we have welcomed in years. Thank you Sandy and Barry for bringing her out.

Be well.

Printed with the permission of Kol Echad

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