In an era when the sight of someone wearing electronic devices in their ears is commonplace, public perception of hearing aids as ‘only for old people’ has likely begun to change.
If so, that’s a good thing: untreated hearing loss is linked with increased risk of a host of ills, from social isolation and depression to falls and cognitive decline. (Still, while three quarters of Canadians aged 60 to 69 have a measurable hearing impairment, only seven percent are aware they’re living with hearing loss.)
And today, not only is there a wider array of treatment options than ever before — including relatively low-tech devices — hearing aid technology has advanced by leaps and bounds even in the relatively short time since I last wrote about hearing loss.
In fact, even as someone who tries to stay up to the minute on health issues, I was surprised. For instance, not only do some models of hearing aid allow you to use your smartphone as a remote, thanks to Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and GPS, it’s sometimes possible for your audiologist to adjust your hearing aids’ program remotely, or have your devices ‘sense’ that you’re in a particular location, and switch to settings that have been optimized for that environment.
A big thank-you to everyone who kindly shared their experience and expertise with me:
- Andrea Bull, a registered audiologist in Vancouver, and member of Speech Language and Audiology Canada’s board of directors.
- Joan Hutchinson, a London, Ont., retiree; Christine Peets, a writer and fitness instructor in Napanee, Ont.
- Marilyn Reed, a registered audiologist and audiology practice advisor at Toronto’s Baycrest Health Sciences.
- Ron Warner, of Toronto.
Baycrest Audiology (Links to a presentation on link between ears, the brain, and dementia)
World Health Organization (Info on hearWHO hearing screening app)