We always encourage patients to bring a companion with them when they come in for a consultation. Whether it’s a family member, friend or significant other, that companion can play a significant role in the successful treatment of hearing loss.On average, someone with hearing loss will wait about seven years before doing anything about it. What they don’t realize is that all that time, their hearing loss isn’t simply inconveniencing them, it is inconveniencing everyone who needs to communicate with them. Hearing loss doesn’t just affect the person experiencing it; it affects everyone in their orbit.
The U.S. National Council on Aging conducted a study that found an improvement in personal relationships after participants began using hearing aids; that was accompanied by feelings of improved self-worth. Better physical health was a result, as well. Positive effects on relationships can begin even before hearing loss treatment does. The people invited to be part of the process as companions tend to feel appreciated, respected and recognized for the effect the patient’s hearing loss is having on them.
What does a companion offer that a patient doesn’t?Whether you bring along your husband, wife, best friend or cousin, that person will provide additional insight into your situation that will be of great help to your hearing care professional. For instance, they will tend to be more sensitive to signs you may not even notice. As an example: people with hearing loss often instinctively turn up the volume of TVs and radios; a companion can give a hearing care professional some perspective on how often you do such things. That perspective can lead to seeing your hearing loss in a new light.
What does the companion get out of the experience?Hearing loss can be a lonely thing, since many people are very hesitant to discuss it, even with the people closest to them. Bringing a companion to an appointment will give them an opportunity to better understand just what you are dealing with due to your hearing loss. Your hearing care professional can even use technology to give your companion a chance to experience your hearing loss personally—that can be a real eye-opener (or ear-opener, depending on your perspective).
Won’t this be boring for the companion?Not at all. Your companion will play an active role in the hearing evaluation process. A new-patient appointment takes anywhere from an hour to an hour-and-a-half. In that time, we cover a lot of ground:
- Explaining how hearing works
- Identifying and discussing your type of hearing loss
- Looking at the range of next steps you can take
- If applicable, the many hearing aid options available, along with various other technology and accessories that can be of help to you
- The cost of hearing technology
Should I bring more than one companion?
That isn’t necessary. But you may want to consider bringing a different companion with you if you have to come back for a hearing aid fitting. Odds are, the person who accompanies you to your first appointment will be the person you speak with most often but, if that isn’t the case, bring your most frequent conversation partner to your hearing aid fitting. We can tailor your hearing aid to respond best to the voice you hear most often.
To sum it up, your companion can give us a window into your hearing loss experience that you can’t. Since hearing loss tends to come on very gradually, those suffering from it tend to begin compensating for it without even noticing. Someone who spends a lot of time with you will have a clearer picture than even you of the challenges you face, and those faced by the people who care about you. Contact us today to book your complimentary hearing assessment.