You suspect you have a hearing loss. What is the next step? Should you wait to seek help?
The first step is to contact our office and schedule a hearing evaluation so proper diagnosis of your hearing loss may be determined. If a medical referral for further investigation and/or treatment is necessary, we will discuss that referral with you. Medicare rules require that a recipient be referred by their primary care physician in order for Medicare to cover the expense of the hearing evaluation by an audiologist. Currently, the Direct Access to Audiologists bill is being considered in Congress which will eliminate the requirement for primary care physician referral of Medicare recipients.
If hearing loss is diagnosed and intervention is deemed appropriate, a hearing aid evaluation will be pursued if the individual perceives a handicap in their lifestyle and communication needs. Assessment of communication needs and difficulties due to the hearing loss will be performed as well as technology recommendations. This evaluation is comprehensive and we highly encourage patients to bring their spouse, family member or close friend with them to the appointment. This allows another support person to be involved in the process which we find, and research supports, to be another step to ensure success of the new patient’s journey towards better hearing.
We absolutely know if you perceive a handicap in your lifestyle from your hearing loss then you should begin the amplification process immediately. Waiting is not a good idea! Living with hearing loss is a detriment to your quality of life and your loved ones. Hearing loss is a serious matter and its negative impact should not be underestimated. Lastly, the old adage, “Use it or lose it” is definitely correct and has recently been supported again by a study from Johns Hopkins Hospital confirming that untreated hearing loss accelerates brain atrophy or shrinkage as a person ages.