New Advances in Digital Hearing Aids Help Baby Boomers

Ken Teegardin Written by Ken Teegardin
SeniorLiving.Org Expert on Chief Editor | Caregiver

Did you work around loud machines? Wear Walkman headphones while jogging? Grow up listening to Kiss, Cream and Led Zeppelin with the volume turned up to 11? Have you lived in a city all your life?

Digital Hearing Aids

If you’re one of the 76 million baby boomers retiring in the next 20 years, there’s a good chance your ears have taken a beating. Our society is noisier than ever. Prolonged or loud noise causes people to lose their hearing.

The bad news: Over 31 million people in this country experience hearing loss. Over 30 million are exposed to harmful noises on a regular basis. And nearly 40% of Americans with hearing loss are under 65.

The good news: New advances in digital hearing aids help baby boomers. Improve your senior living. How? Let’s find out.

Not your Parents’ Hearing Aid

Over six million Americans use hearing aids. Unfortunately, 24 million with hearing loss do not.

Maybe they don’t want to “feel” or “look” like a geezer. Maybe they think it’s too big a hassle. Maybe they’re still in denial.

Whatever the reason, today’s digital hearing aids are easy to buy, fit and adjust. They are comfortable and not as clunky as they once were. In addition, these hearing aids are nearly invisible.

Fitting is easy with an “open-fit” digital hearing aid. In the past, an audiologist would make a silicon mold of your ear for a custom fit. Today’s open-fit and speaker-in-the-ear models require no molds and only minor tweaks for a custom fit.

Like fittings, hearing aid performance adjustments would take a visit to an audiologist’s office. The adjustments would be made and you’d be on your way. But adjusting in an office for real world hearing was rarely prefect. Often times, you’d have to make another trip back for a re-adjustment.

Now, however, you can program (adjust) your hearing aid from home with computer software. With some software, you can type a query like “Conversations are muffled”. Then the software automatically adjusts the hearing aid for you. Easy.

In other instances, the hearing aid vendor can make the adjustments, then email you the adjustment file to download. Simple.

Shopping for hearing aids is easy with the internet. You can do an apples to apples comparison of features, benefits, and brands from dozens of retailers. Plus, by shopping online you can save up to 15%, which can amount to $500 depending on the brand.

Why Get a Hearing Aid?

Okay. You know your hearing isn’t what it used to be. The TV is cranked. You ask friends to repeat their words more often than not. Talking on the phone is a burden (at least for the receiver). So you get a hearing aid and turn the TV lower. You hear people in conversation. Is it really worth it?

A report by the Journal of the American Academy of Audiology said: “Hearing aid use greatly improves adults’ health-related quality of life by reducing psychological, social and emotional effects of hearing loss — an insidious and potentially devastating chronic health condition.” A compelling reason, right?

A National Institute on Aging study found that the greater the hearing loss, the higher the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s. People who experienced hearing loss were five times more likely to develop dementia than those with normal hearing.

One of the researchers, Frank Lin, M.D., explained it this way to the AARP: ‘If you are out to dinner with friends at a busy restaurant and it's very, very loud, by the time you get home you're exhausted, because you spend so much time trying to think about the words people are saying, to decipher everything.’

Summary

Senior living should be the best years of your life even if experience hearing loss. Today, new advances in digital hearing aids help baby boomers. You’ll undoubtedly like the technology that accompanies these hearing aids: self-adjustments, open-fits, and shopping online.

For help finding quality, low cost hearing aids, check out "Buying Hearing Aids On-Line."

Updated: Apr 04, 2011

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