Consequences of Hearing Loss
At first, hearing loss may seem like it primarily has physical consequences–hearing loss just means one’s ears can’t hear well, right? In actuality, the consequences of hearing loss are quite wide-ranging. There are physical, cognitive, psychological, and psychosocial consequences of hearing loss. While hearing loss is very common, it often goes untreated.
In fact, according to an article titled “The Connection Between Hearing Loss and Healthy Aging,” 9 out of 10 people with mild hearing loss do not have hearing aids and 6 out of 10 people with moderate to severe hearing loss do not have hearing aids.
Hearing loss is an invisible ailment. You can’t tell just by looking at someone that they have hearing loss. This can prevent discrimination, but it can also delay treatment, since there isn’t anything outwardly different about a person with hearing loss.
When you can’t hear well, you can’t communicate well, which has implications in many different aspects of life. One important aspect of life that is affected by hearing loss is the ability to work. Hearing loss can interfere with a person’s work, preventing them from answering the phone, interacting with clients or colleagues, and participating actively in meetings. A lack of access to hearing aids can affect people’s vocations and livelihoods.
Aiding with Hearing Aids
There are many reasons why people who need hearing aids do not purchase them. According to a study conducted by the National Council on Aging in 1999 on the consequences of hearing loss in older adults, the vast majority of respondents reported that they did not believe their hearing loss was severe enough to require a hearing aid. However, these respondents were still reporting difficulty hearing.
In addition, one in five people in the 1999 survey reported that wearing a hearing aid would make them feel “old or embarrassed.” The irony, however, is that hearing loss leaves people in situations where they are unable to respond appropriately and are unable to communicate correctly. This creates its own set of embarrassing situations.
Another reason people who need hearing aids do not wear hearing aids is because often hearing loss is not a priority for policy makers. Hearing loss straddles the line between a health care issue, a public health concern, and a lifestyle issue. Creating awareness of the difficulties associated with hearing loss can help make hearing aids more accessible to those who need them.
Hearing aids can change the day-to-day functioning and happiness in a person’s life. Along with enriching the small moments that might be missed without hearing aids, hearing aids can also help people stay on the job for longer as they age, and continue engaging in the hobbies they’ve always enjoyed.
If you’d like to learn more about hearing loss solutions for you, drop into a Lucid Hearing Center at your local Sam’s Club today!
6 Months with Lucid Hearing
David H. has been a Hearing Instrument Specialist at Lucid Hearing for just over 6 months now. Though he hasn’t been on the team for long, he is already helping people hear better every single day.
David’s favorite part about working at Lucid is “interacting with so many people every day.” When asked about his best days, David answered: “My best days are when I get to help someone hear better.” David is lucky because his best days are every day. On average, David assists approximately 2 new people with hearing better every single day.
Hearing Tests can Change Lives
According to David, people often come in to the hearing center for a hearing test just to make their spouses happy. Loved ones are often the first to notice when someone is experiencing hearing loss because they find themselves repeating sentences and noticing that the volume is turned up higher than it used to. For this reason, spouses and other loved ones are usually the ones encouraging a person experiencing hearing loss to get their hearing tested. David enjoys seeing when a person comes in for a hearing test just to make their spouse happy, and then leave with new hearing aids and completely forget they were there just to make their spouse happy! One hearing test can really change a person’s life, and gentle nudges made by spouses and loved ones can improve the quality of one’s life!
Trained in Excellence
David is grateful for his job because of the license required to be a Hearing Instrument Specialist. The licensing process involved rigorous training that gave David unique skills and education that he will have with him forever. He enjoys using what he’s learned to help others. Though David considers himself an introvert, he loves interacting with people through his work at Lucid Hearing. He is truly passionate about helping people Hear Better.
A Wearer of Lucid’s Hearing Aids
As someone who wears Lucid hearing aids, David is confident that Lucid’s hearing aids stand apart from the rest. He has noticed that the technology in Lucid’s hearing aids sounds different from other manufacturers and truly helps him hear better. He has also noticed that people appreciate Lucid’s hearing aids most if they are a current wearer of hearing aids and can compare Lucid’s hearing aids directly to the ones they currently wear; the difference between Lucid hearing aids and others is easily noticeable! Those who are “power junkies” or especially knowledgeable about technology also tend to appreciate Lucid’s hearing aids more, noted David.
We’re glad to have David on the team with us and we look forward to continue hearing stories of how he is helping people hear better throughout his career!
Megan E. has only been working at Lucid Hearing for a couple of months, but she is already embodying the Lucid Hearing spirit!
Megan is a Hearing Instrument Specialist. Curious about what a Hearing Instrument Specialist does? A Hearing Instrument Specialist selects and fits hearing aids for customers. In addition, hearing instrument specialists administer and interpret hearing tests and measure the effectiveness of hearing instruments. Some of their job includes: preparing, designing, and modifying ear molds for the purpose of hearing aids. This job takes talent, skills, patience, and a kind demeanor, all of which Megan demonstrates every day.
There’s one main thing that inspires Megan to look forward to coming into work each day: “The opportunity to help someone hear better, each and every day, because the sounds of life are so sweet to hear.” Megan appreciates the sounds in the world, from the softest to the louder sounds, and she shares this appreciation with those who she tests and fits for hearing aids.
Her favorite part of working at Lucid Hearing in her short time with us has been the “amazing products and VALUE!” According to Megan, Lucid is an amazing company to work for because of the environment of teamwork. Everyone supports each other and everyone is valued for their work.
When asked about the 3 things she would want the world to know her, Megan answered with these three things:
- My PASSION is what drives me.
- I LOVE animals, reading, and recycling.
- I’m so, so, so THANKFUL for those that have helped me carve y path in the hearing profession.
Megan offers so much to our team at Lucid Hearing and we are glad to have her on board!
At Lucid Hearing, we are so proud to have customers that embody the compassion that our company believes in. We recently took some time to speak with one of our beloved customers, Linda about her life and her experience with Lucid Hearing.
Linda realized she had hearing loss during a difficult time in her family. Her husband, Ernie, had just had his heart valve replaced and hadbroken his neck in two places. Linda and her daughter were pouring their hearts into helping Ernie get back on his feet, but during the process, Linda noticed that her hearing was starting to decline.
A friend of Ernie’s mentioned that he had bought his hearing aids with Lucid Hearing at the Sam’s Club in Abilene. He highly recommended Lucid Hearing, so Linda decided to check it out.
Once at Lucid Hearing, Linda’s life changed. “The audiologist was absolutely wonderful,” Linda remembers. “From the moment I put the hearing aid in my ear, I could hear everything that was going on. I just got so excited because I could hear everything that was going on around me!” Linda continues, “We all think this couldn’t happen to us, but guess what: it can. It won’t be just like when we were younger, but it has been so amazing.”
Linda’s hearing aids Christmas presents from her husband. She is grateful because, as she puts it: “It just feels like I’m a part of everything that goes on around me! I’m proud that we took this step.”
Linda’s life has changed in some profound ways since getting hearing aids. For example, she doesn’t have the TV blaring anymore like she used to. And now, she can talk on the phone that is in the office effortlessly. Linda is especially glad that she can hear her 21 year old granddaughter call from New York. “My granddaughter will call and say ‘grandma,’ and I just beam!” says Linda. Linda’s granddaughter is going to be spending a semester in Washington, DC soon, and Linda is excited to keep hearing about her DC experiences on the phone!
In addition, Linda can hear the birds now. In the traffic, she can hear what’s going on behind her without anyone having to honk their horn at her. She can be in the kitchen and still hear everything that’s happening on the TV, even though she can’t see it. “It’s opened up a whole new world,” reflects Linda. “Last week, I heard something beeping like crazy and I noticed it and it ended up being the 9 o’clock alarm on a smartphone. I wouldn’t have heard that before, so it’s neat,” notes Linda.
According to Linda, “Getting hearing aids was the easiest thing in the world. These are so comfortable, I can barely even tell I have them on!” In fact, the first day Linda had her hearing aids in, she got in the shower and heard a “womp, womp” sound. She noticed that she had her hearing aids on! She didn’t get them wet, but she was amazed that she could hear the water hitting her hair! She then told her doctor: “It was so funny because it’s like a warning went off when I heard a sound that I wouldn’t have heard before!”
Now, Linda keeps her hearing aids with her all the time. She puts them in right after she puts her glasses on in the morning!
Linda is currently retired. During her career, she did insurance work for doctors. Her specialty was anesthesia. She then worked for a billing group. In addition, she worked for an ENT Doctor in Dallas at Medical City Hospital. The most exciting thing Linda remembers from that time was when she saw a child brought to America from Kosovo and seeing that child go through the pretesting, working with speech pathologists, and the audiologist. “The most wonderful sight,” Linda recalls, “was being able to see this child hear for the first time and being able to look at her mother and say ‘mama’.”
Linda enjoys being retired because she gets the chance to do Sudoku, crosswords, cross-stitch, and spend time with her two little puppy dogs.
Most of all, Linda enjoys helping people when they need help. “I like to help people,” shares Linda. “I like to give people a hand.”
Linda has a speaking valve that helps patients who have had tracheostomies. Her experience prompted her to commit to “helping anyone that needs help.” As Linda explains, “some trach patients think their lives are over. But their lives are not over. I want to help anyone who needs help.”
If Linda could share one message with everyone, she would share this: “People need to understand that even though we’re getting older, we don’t have to get rid of the greatest activities. Talking, hearing, and breathing are the main things, and having access to these things makes all the difference in the world.”
As Linda reflects on the impact her hearing aids have made on her life, she shares: “Being able to hear better is the best thing to happen to me besides marrying my husband and having our daughter. I just feel so lucky.”
We feel lucky to have Linda as a customer. It’s people with hearts like hers that keep us going and inspire us to do the work that we do.
Hearing Loss in the Family
Manuel V. has been a Lucid Hearing Specialist for approximately 1 year now and he has been making an incredible impact on the people he fits with hearing aids.
We took some time to learn more about Manuel’s perspective on hearing loss, and his experiences with Lucid Hearing. We came away feeling inspired by his commitment to the field of hearing technology and are excited to share what we learned with you!
Manuel first became interested in becoming a hearing specialist because his own father had hearing loss. Manuel remembers seeing the frustration, discomfort, and embarrassment that came with his father’s hearing loss. Now, Manuel envisions every patient that sits in his booth as his father. By envisioning every patient as his father, Manuel is able to sympathize with the patient at a deep level. This sympathy drives Manuel to help every patient to the best of his ability.
Every day, Manuel assists about 7 to 10 people. That’s between 1, 827 and 2, 610 visits a year! Manuel stays busy at work, but still gives every person who walks through the door his undivided attention.
Focusing on Helping People Hear Better
Manuel’s favorite part about working for Lucid Hearing is that as a salary employee, he can focus on helping people hear better, as opposed to trying to sell a product. Every day, he comes to work hoping that he can help someone hear better, regardless of whether they purchase a product or not. In this way, his job is educational and people-centered. He believes this is what keeps him grounded and keeps him excited to come to work every day.
In addition, Manuel appreciates Lucid’s partnership with Sam’s Club because it demonstrates Lucid Hearing’s commitment to affordable hearing aids. Manuel explains: “By partnering with Sam’s Club, Lucid Hearing is able to save the member a substantial amount of money by eliminating franchise expenses, most overhead, and commission.”
Communication at the Heart of Hearing Technology
At the heart of hearing technology, according to Manuel, is communication. He says, “Speech understanding is one of the biggest benefits of amplification. There can be a lot of joy and relief to finally being able to join those conversations at the dinner table or to be able to understand what your children or grandchildren have been saying this whole time.”
However, Manuel often finds himself reminding members: Hearing aids are less like a pair of eye glasses and more like physical rehabilitation. It can take some time and slight discomfort to find your correct amount of amplification, so patience and perseverance are a must.”
Manuel’s steadfast dedication to helping people hear better is so appreciated and admired! We feel grateful to have him on our team!
Honoring Veterans Every Day
November 11th is America’s official day to honor Veterans; however, at Lucid Hearing, we believe in recognizing and honoring our Veterans every single day. Veterans make immense sacrifices to defend our lives and values. We make an effort to support and care for Veterans, and bring attention to issues that disproportionately affect them.
Hearing loss disproportionately affects Veterans. According to the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs, in 2014, over 933,000 Veterans were receiving disability compensation for hearing loss, and nearly 1.3 million Veterans received compensation for tinnitus. Tinnitus is the condition of hearing ringing or buzzing in one’s ears. Tinnitus is the number-one disability among Veterans. In the general population, it affects approximately 1 in 10 American adults.
Furthermore, many Veterans have auditory processing disorder, meaning they receive normal scores on hearing tests, but have difficulty understanding speech. Auditory processing disorder is often associated with blast exposure. Hearing loss in combat is remarkably common.
Hearing Loss in Combat
As a 2016 Washington Post military blog argues, hearing loss is treated as an inevitable cost of war, but it shouldn’t be. The blog discusses the various dangers to hearing in the military. From high-capacity engines to jets to tanks to rifles, guns, and explosives, hearing loss is rampant. One can lose hearing during training and during combat, and together it all adds up to cause significant damage to one’s hearing.
The author of the blog, Stephen Carlson, served two tours in Afghanistan as an infantryman with the 10th Mountain division. Carlson describes his experience with hearing loss:
It’s beyond simply having to ask people to repeat themselves over and over whenever there’s the least bit of background noise. Conversation among even small groups of friends becomes difficult. When other people are hanging out and talking, you find yourself retreating to quiet spaces to be alone. Your friends may understand, but you start feeling rude when you have to step away every 10 minutes.
The vague sense of isolation at first starts to wear think. Then it turns into something more. Whole conversations are missed, or, at least, your wife is repeating every other line to you. Meeting new people and making small talk can feel extraordinarily difficult. Turning the side of your head to a stranger while nodding blankly can be off-putting.
Carlson shared that hearing loss permeates how he moves through the world every day. Hearing loss in combat can be debilitating far after one leaves the war zone.
Mark Brogan, a retired army captain, suffered a wide array of injuries during combat. He suffered “a brain injury, a spinal injury, a nearly severed right arm when a suicide bomber on foot detonated his weapon near [him] six years ago in Iraq.” Of all of his injuries, Brogan considers hearing loss (and the brain injury) to be his worst traumas. Here’s how he explains it:
You’ve been to a concert — you know how your ears are ringing afterward? It’s just like that my entire life…A lot of guys get home and they probably don’t even think about getting their hearing checked.
Hearing loss can be debilitating, isolating, and frightening. However, all people can take steps to heal from hearing loss and improve their hearing.
Lucid Hearing and Veterans
One of our own Lucid Hearing customers, Tom, speaks often about how his time in combat affected his hearing. Tom did two years and two tours in combat during the Vietnam War. His hearing was affected at a young age by all of the explosions and combat sounds he heard in Vietnam.
Though Tom experienced hearing loss in combat, he reflects that he went a long time without addressing his hearing loss. Tom notes, “You can go a long time when you’re around people you love and who love you just saying ‘What did you say?’ and they’ll always tell you.”
People put [getting hearing aids] off for lots of reason. I think a lot of it is vanity. They think y’know for me to hang a hearing aid on my ear must mean I’m an old person. But that’s not necessarily true–it just means you want to participate more fully in life and not miss things!
Veterans fight to defend us, but they often lose their hearing in the process. Veterans, and all people, are always welcome to come to one of our Lucid Hearing stores for a free hearing test.
May is Better Hearing & Speech Month
Did you know May is Better Hearing & Speech Month? This year’s theme is “Communication: The Key to Connection.” Better Hearing & Speech Month is a time to raise awareness about hearing loss and issues that create barriers to communication. There are lots of options to help improve hearing, so it’s important to raise awareness about hearing loss and related issues to decrease stigma and increase treatment of these issues.
In talking to people who experience hearing loss, one of the main observations I hear is that people feel isolated before getting hearing aids. Family gathering and social outings become stressful when you can’t understand what your loved ones are saying. This can spark feelings of loneliness, frustration, and embarrassment.
Better Hearing Month At Lucid Hearing
Communication is at the crux of human interaction, so this month, is focused on removing barriers to communication.
Here at Lucid Hearing, we celebrate Better Hearing Month every month. We offer FREE hearing tests at our locations (sign up here). We spend our days having vibrant conversations about hearing better and we fit people with hearing aids. And, every single day, we celebrate the joy of communication and connection.
Celebrate Better Hearing Month
How are you planning on celebrating Better Hearing Month? If you’re looking for ideas, here are some for you:
- Share, Share, Share! If you have hearing loss or experience other hearing or speech-related challenges, consider sharing openly about your experiences. Whether you choose to post a Facebook status about your journey through hearing loss, or even just bring up the subject with a family member or friend, you can do a lot just by sharing. People often experience hesitation about getting their hearing tested, so sharing about your experiences can help put them at ease and prompt them to take the next step in improving their hearing and communication. Sharing openly about your hearing loss also reduces stigma around the issue.
- Encourage someone in your life to join you for a hearing test. It’s healthy for everyone to get their hearing tested annually. If you’re due for a hearing test, bring a friend or loved one with you! Better Hearing Month is all about awareness, inclusion, and action, and bringing someone with you for a hearing test accomplishes each of those goals!
- Check out these resources from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD). Reading more about hearing loss and the organizations advocating on behalf of those experiencing hearing loss is empowering whether you experience hearing loss or not. There is lots of important work being done on making hearing health care more accessible and preventing noise-induced hearing loss. Stay educated on these issues so you can be an advocate for the people in your life!
Spotlight on Michelle E.
Michelle has been a valued specialist at Lucid Hearing for 3 years now and still looks forward to coming into work to share smiles with members and build lasting relationships. She originally decided to become a Hearing Specialist because she is a “people person.” She loves giving and helping others. In addition, she loves music, and she couldn’t imagine her life (or anyone else’s) without communication or the sounds of life. As she told us, “this career was a perfect fit!” Before working as a Hearing Specialist, Michelle was an Artist/ Muralist for 15 years! Michelle has a BBA in Marketing and has three kids who are her inspiration and motivation. She thrives off of creativity, nature, and knowledge.
Over the past 3 years, Michelle has had many many memorable experiences with providing hearing assistance and helping people Hear Better. She shared a few of these experiences and insights with us.
From Shampoo to “I can hear you!”
Here’s one experience Michelle described: “The first time I helped a member, I met them on the shampoo aisle in the club. A nice couple was walking around looking for something, so I asked if I could help them out. I sparked up a conversation with them, and within an hour, I had the gentleman hearing and extremely happy! Their spirits were high, and we all shared a good laugh about their unexpected life event. The wife explained, ‘We just came in for some shampoo and eggs, and you changed our lives forever!! It was just fate that we met you!’ Then she gave me a warm hug and thanked me.”
Building Trusting Relationships
As Michelle described, “I have members that I have already fit with hearing aids who approach me with a smile and just sit down and want to visit with me. We build a trusted relationship which leads to friendships. I learn about their families, their lifestyles, and what they care about. This helps me not only understand where they are coming from, but also helps me to be able to pinpoint their hearing needs and perfect their communication and hearing abilities.”
After a member is tested and receives hearing assistance, Michelle describes that the difference is “like night and day–literally someone’s quality of life is changed in a matter of minutes.” In fact, the best part of Michelle’s day is seeing the “excitement and joy that [her] members express after they are hearing out of the hearing aids for the first time.”
Michelle has noticed that hearing assistance and hearing aids change families for the better. In her words, “I love that the hearing aid user is behind themselves with their newfound hearing abilities and confidence. Another huge part of the process is that the other family members are essentially gaining their family member back. The lost conversation, the hollering, frustration, and repeating are a thing of the past. There is a sense of peace that is so fulfilling.”
Hearing Loss as a Surprise
Often, Michelle explains, members are shocked to hear they have hearing loss. People think they can hear fine, and she often hears the phrase, “My spouse just wants me to be tested.” However, deep down, Michelle believes these people have a hunch that something was off. When she goes over the audiogram and explains in detail what their particular struggles may be, members sometimes look at her like she is a fortune teller! They exclaim: “YES! Yes! That’s exactly how it is, I do have those issues! I can hear, but I AM missing out on things!”
The Importance of Giving Back and Having Passions
Michelle is a passionate person who truly cares for others. Along with providing hearing assistance every day at work, Michelle likes to help out wherever she can in community outreach programs. She has helped with her local community in many ways, financially, emotionally, and spiritually. Michelle has helped in children’s shelters, has helped prepare care packages for the homeless and deployed, has physically helped rebuild and repair homes for the needy, and has collected shoes and school supplies to those in need. She also loves to run in a lot of 5Ks that are raising money for various benefits!
Getting to learn new things and meet new people are some of Michelle’s favorite things! She is always trying to learn and self improve, physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally.
We are lucky to have Michelle’s passion, warmth, curiosity, and dedication on our team!
The Intersections Between Audiology and Government
Beverly G., Ph.D., is an Audiologist and Life Improvement Specialist at Lucid Hearing. We’re lucky to welcome her to the team: she’s been with us for about 3 months, but she is bringing 40+ years of experience as an audiologist to her work at Lucid!
Beverly became an audiologist at a young age. She took the responsibility of helping people hear better very seriously from the beginning of her career. Here are just a few of the things Beverly has already accomplished in her career:
- Chairing the national committee that created the model licensure for audiologists in the country
- Authoring Ohio legislation which still exists today requiring every Ohio birth hospital to screen newborns for hearing loss
- Providing home-care audiology for over 20 years helping travel-challenged elderly individuals have the opportunity to hear better.
And that’s not all!
Just last year, Beverly was a candidate for Congress! Most of her days were spent in the inner cities, meeting with families, and learning about their conditions and needs. She traveled throughout her district giving speeches and meeting with elected community leaders. Her family continues to be engaged in these inner city communities in 2017.
“Can’t Beat This!!!!”
Beverly’s favorite part of working at Lucid so far is: “Helping People Hear Better.” She enjoys taking her 40+ years of experience as an audiologist along with her own experiences with hearing loss and transferring her knowledge and enthusiasm for successful hearing to members who are struggling with hearing loss. In her first 60 days, she has helped 19 people Hear Better. Members are returning to the Club for check ups with her and her team, and the members are reporting great successes in their new lives–“Can’t beat this!!!!” says Beverly!
In her work as an Audiologist and Life Improvement Specialist, Beverly works with members to understand their own hearing loss and emphasizes how simple and easy it is to really get your life back. As Beverly explains, treating hearing loss eliminates the struggle to communicate, reduces one’s depression, and avoids memory loss issues–the perfect trifecta.
Comparing Lucid Technology
Here’s what Beverly has to say about Lucid Hearing’s technology: “Our linear technology is amazing. I can look absolutely everyone who I test in the eye, and tell them for a fact, that in my 40+ years of providing audiology services in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio, I have never been able to sell a better product, at a better price, with such comprehensive warranty and insurance coverage. Yes, some other stores and outlets may offer a slightly lower price point, but the level of our value for our price point does not exist anywhere else.”
A Family at Work and at Home
Beverly has been a Sam’s Club member for over 25 years, so getting a job with Lucid felt like “getting a job at home.” She knows where most things are located in the store, and she especially likes to have friendly relationships with all the other employees at the Sam’s in Oakwood Village.
When Beverly isn’t writing legislation, running for Congress, or working with Lucid Hearing as an Audiologist and Life Improvement Specialist, she is spending time with her husband, Michael. They have been married for 48 years, and, as Beverly says, “that’s a long time to hang around your best friend.” Beverly and Michael have kids and grandkids who she loves spending time with.
Beverly feels very lucky that her age does not prevent her from having an opportunity to continue Helping People Hear Better in 2017 and beyond! She might feel lucky, but we feel luckier to have such a great Audiologist and Life Improvement Specialist on board! She is just another example of our truly outstanding employees!