Are you, or someone you know, frustrated by hearing aids?

23 May 2018 – It’s not uncommon for people to find it harder to manage their hearing aids as they get older. The good news is there may be other solutions that are more manageable.

Cindy Foulkes

Cindy Foulkes says a hearing therapist can offer support and advice if you’re having trouble with your hearing aids, or if your hearing isn’t as good as it used to be. She works at Life Unlimited Hearing Therapy in Whangarei, a free service funded by the Ministry of Health to support people living with hearing loss.

A hearing therapist can provide a hearing evaluation to help identify the situations where you need most help with your hearing. They can also recommend solutions that meet your individual needs –which could include alternatives to hearing aids.

“It depends on a person’s individual circumstances. For example, they may have difficulties with their eyesight, or they may be losing dexterity or experience tremors from conditions like Parkinson’s.

“So, there are lots of things that may affect their ability to operate hearing aids. And in some cases, an effective solution may be a personal amplifier.”

A personal amplifier uses a directional microphone connected to a headset to hone in on the sounds you want to hear and reduce background noise. They’re cost-effective and simple to operate with large buttons, so they’re easier to handle if you have difficulties with vision or dexterity.

Young woman in a meeting holding a listening device

Personal amplifiers may not provide a full hearing solution, but they can enable people to hear what’s going on at important moments.

Cindy says although they don’t provide a full hearing solution, they may enable people to hear what’s going on at important moments.

“It may be particularly useful at your doctor or pharmacy so you can hear instructions about taking medication – or for any conversation with family and friends.”

A personal amplifier fitted with a telecoil can also be used in theatres and churches that have a hearing loop system. It will pick up the sound signal and transmit it directly to your headset.

“So often a personal amplifier not only encourages better one-on-one communication, it can also help people be more social and just enjoy activities like going to the movies.”

Assistive technology, like personal amplifiers, are just one solution. A hearing therapist can also help with practical strategies to make communicating easier. This may include helpful advice about managing your environment to reduce background noise and improve acoustics, or tips to make it easier to talk on the telephone or watch television without disturbing others because the volume is too loud.

Life Unlimited Hearing Therapy is a free service available in Whangarei, Kaikohe and Kaitaia. Call 0800 008 011 to book an appointment with Cindy for a hearing assessment and to discuss options to support better hearing.

View personal amplifiers on the Life Unlimited Store website.