Fashion Plate

If you like Texas Jot, please take a look at my other blog, Fashion Plate. It is the home of my handmade retro Barbie clothes and lots of delicious recipes from my cookbooks.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Can You Hear Me, NOW!

I find it amazing that we don't think twice about getting our vision checked but relegate hearing tests to octogenarians. Usually, hearing loss is so gradual that one doesn't even realize that there has been a decline...we just turn up the volume.
In an article in the Journal of Neuroscience, researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh discovered that even mild hearing loss was linked to atrophy of the brain .  People with hearing loss showed less brain activity when listening to complex sentences. Unlike Alzheimer's, there is something we can do to stave off this decline in gray matter and comprehension. A simple hearing evaluation can bring the auditory assistance you require.
My grandmother and mother had to be dragged to the audiologist.  They refused to wear their hearing aids and spent a good part of their life pretending to hear what the rest of us were saying. Like getting used to contact lenses, hearing aids require some getting use to and adjustment.  The good news is that that are lots of different types of hearing enhancers on the market. Find an audiologist who carries multiple brands and get your hearing evaluated.
Luckily, someone put me onto Sally Reyes at All About Hearing.  I had my hearing checked 2 years ago and had a mild hearing loss.  At the time I tried some hearing enhancers, but didn't feel like they helped that much.  This year, I repeated the test and there had been a further decline in hearing.  I am now testing some different types of hearing aids.  These modern devices are programmed on the computer and can be adjusted at the audiologists as your needs change.  It is a far cry from the take-it-or-leave-it Beltone models from which your parents had to select. 
I will say, Sally is probably the most patient woman on earth.  I have been through numerous different configurations finding the fit and auditory level. This can be a process, so I can understand the frustration of an elderly person when they have problems with a hearing device.How do you convince your family that you are not just being cantankerous? My solution is, get your hearing checked on a regular basis and get some auditory assistance while you are in control of your healthcare. (PARTNER, on the other hand, popped his right in and has had smooth sailing for the past few years.)
The Perelman study noted that even individuals who fell within normal hearing ranges still suffered from speech comprehension issues.  Pretty scary, huh?!

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