Blog Posts

Better Hearing is a Lifetime Commitment

Hearing loss impacts almost 11% of the U.S. population, or over 36,000,000 Americans. The majority have sensorineural hearing loss. This type of loss damages the inner ear’s sensory cells (known as hair cells), and the neural pathway that sends the hearing signal from ear to brain. Noise exposure and aging are the two main causes. Sensorineural loss is almost always permanent because nerve cells can’t regenerate. So, not only won’t this type of hearing loss improve, advancing age and continued noise exposure generally make it worse. Sensorineural hearing loss impacts both our awareness of sounds, and our ability to distinguish sounds. The good news is that well-fit hearing aids often slow down further hearing loss, and stabilize our ability to hear and understand.

When I talk to people about their hearing and hearing aids, I make sure they understand the following:

  1. Our goal is to maximize the hearing you have – not to restore what you have lost.
  2. The sooner you take action, the more positive your results will be.
  3. Making a lifetime commitment to your hearing health pays off.

Let’s take a look at each of these points:

Our goal is to maximize the hearing you have – not to restore what you have lost. Our ears are designed to work full-time. They never switch off. Therefore, parts of our ears will eventually wear out. As this happens, our ears must work harder, and the brain must concentrate harder, to pick up and process incoming sounds. No device can ever replace the natural hearing design we were given at birth. But, the brain is amazingly adaptable and will effectively use ‘aided’ sound. You won’t hear exactly like you did when you were younger – but, the vast majority of people are extremely pleased with their outcome. The sooner you take action, the more positive your results will be. Studies indicate that the sooner you compensate for a hearing loss, the more success you will achieve. The brain has a remarkable capacity to adapt to changes in sound input. This “elasticity” of the brain may decrease as we age, causing its ability to adapt to also decrease. In addition, the longer you wait to take action, the more quickly your remaining hearing may diminish. By fitting your ears with properly tuned hearing aids early, you are giving your brain the best opportunity to adapt and use sound input to its fullest effect. Making a lifetime commitment to your hearing health pays off. Getting regular hearing screenings – and wearing hearing aids if needed – are essential to maintaining your hearing health for a lifetime. It’s good for your overall health, too. Good hearing can lower your risk for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, help prevent balance issues that can lead to falls, keep you safe in the world, and help you maintain your independence! Beltone offers complimentary lifetime care at all of their locations. That means every practitioner is prepared to clean and check the performance of your hearing aids, regularly reevaluate your hearing and, if necessary, recommend and re-fit you with new technology to maximize your hearing ability. When you commit to taking care of your hearing, it’s for a lifetime. And, Beltone is prepared to be your lifetime hearing care partner.

Ken LaFerle, Au.D.
Ken is Beltone's Director of Educational Services and has been "bleeding Beltone Blue" for the last 26 years. He has been working in the hearing industry for the last 31 years and thoroughly enjoys the hearing care field and is looking forward to sharing his thoughts and experiences on the blog. More about Ken

3 Replies

  • Debby Tresner
    Reply

    As a professional vocalist (singer) I admit this is something that terrifies me! I have noticed an increase in the “ringing” in my ears in the quieter times. Though I have allergies, and that causes a lot of fluid in my ears to compromise some hearing, I have to admit I am seriously afraid to find out that I might have actual hearing loss!! I’m fairly certain this is something you deal with on a regular basis. Also, does medicare cover any of the costs for testing and appliances…..just in case? SO GLAD to hear that my weather buddy Mark Bogner has joined the Beltone team! WHAT A GREAT GUY! Thanks.
    Deb Tresner

    • Ask Beltone
      Reply

      Ken LaFerle reply: Thank you for your comment. Based on your remarks, it’s important to have your hearing evaluated to know your hearing status for sure. Ringing of the ears, or Tinnitus, is often associated with hearing, but may be a symptom of other issues – including allergies. Often, hearing issues related to allergies are medically treatable, (another good reason to get your hearing checked!) Medicare may reimburse for some diagnostic hearing evaluation procedures, but if you call any Beltone office they can schedule a complimentary hearing screening to give you the information you need. While Medicare does not reimburse for hearing aids, some Medicare supplement plans do cover hearing aids to varying degrees.

  • Bernie Sheahan
    Reply

    Thanks; this was informative and helpful. And it made me feel hopeful about my future. There’s a lot of hearing loss in my extended family, and I already have tinnitus that’s bothersome. One of my cousins just became one of your hearing specialists after a long successful career as a meteorologist. He kept everyone informed about weather and nature on Facebook and he’s doing the same about hearing and health now! You’re lucky to have him and he’s so happy.

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