Half the Conversation

I am taking this moment to share a bit of a reality check on what hearing aids can do and cannot do.

Hearing aids can keep you in touch with your world. They can amplify the sounds that are occurring around you. They can reduce the possibility of a miss diagnosis of dementia. They can ease the frustrations in couples by reducing misunderstandings. Some better hearing aids can distill out speech from very noisy background sounds.

After your hearing test I review your discrim score, this summarizes the words you did or did not understand. These words are presented in a headset to you at your desired loudness. If you have a poor discernment of words, hearing aids may not improve it, but the hearing aids will allow you to maintain the score you did get.

Hearing aids cannot improve your ability to understand. If you chose to wait way too long to get hearing aids, it is probable that you have a poor understanding of words even in an ideal setting (no other sounds and the words given at your preferred loudness).

Not everyone who delays has poor discrim scores.

We had a new client come in with a hearing loss whose score was about 80%, so he would likely miss one word in a sentence. Some misunderstanding but not lost in the conversation. He choose to wait to do something about his loss. The part of the story he missed, his friend who is profoundly hard of hearing, recommended he get help with his hearing. Sometime you’ve got to think, if someone with poor hearing is telling me I need help, maybe it is worse than my perception.

We recently had a woman who has looked into hearing aids at least three other times. Now her scores, whew. She has a discrim score under 50%. Which means, if you are talking to her, in the perfect environment, with no other distracting noises, she will understand less than every other word you say. Every other word is lost to her. She gets only half the conversation. She has known for at least 6 years she needed help, which really says she needed help for 10 years. She has lost half of her native language comprehension due to delay. I don’t know what she is waiting for, but she choose to wait again.

If you have questions about your discrim score or you feel like you are missing too many words in conversations, call us for a review.

Hearing aids can greatly help those with a loss. However, understanding what the technology can and cannot do is important.