I have many patients that come to me and question why their hearing devices do not correct their hearing, like their glasses correct their sight. After pondering this for a while, I think I came up with a really good comparison regarding hearing and sight impairment.
Our eyes can be corrected to 20/20 vision with the help of glasses or surgery due to some type of abnormality to the lenses or cataracts. This is similar to conductive hearing losses where medication or surgeries (like tubes in the ears, or surgery on the little bones in the ears) can help regain most of the hearing back.
But when we discuss a sensorineural hearing loss, where there is involvement of the hearing nerve and damage that can not be medically corrected, the hearing devices become “aids” and not “corrections”. This is similar to macular degeneration. Vision loss is imminent, progressive and often cannot be corrected by glasses. These patients have to use the “aid” of magnifying glasses to help them see some of the material they are looking at. And even with the use of these “aids”, the patient continues to have difficulty seeing in certain situations.
This comparison seems to bring better understanding of the benefits of hearing devices and how sometimes the patient may still “miss” or not understands certain conversations. With some of the new wireless accessories to our hearing devices, these “missed” situations are becoming less of an issue.
Thank you for sharing this blog with our readers. Very nice comparison and explanation of our hearing and vision system.
Dr. Richard Reikowski, Au.D
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