Hearing loss is more common than you might think, especially among older adults. In fact, did you know that approximately one in three people in the US between the ages of 65 and 74 suffer from it? And that number rises to nearly one in two for those older than 75. But here’s the catch: untreated hearing loss can lead to a range of problems, including an increased risk of cognitive decline.
In this episode, we take a deep dive into this topic and cover a wide range of important areas related to hearing loss and hearing aids. Listen or watch via the links above or scroll to the bottom of the post for a transcript.
Dr. Tonya LaLonde, an accomplished clinical Audiologist at Central Florida Speech and Hearing Center. With over 20 years of experience, she is a true advocate for hearing health and has a passion for educating people on this topic.
We’re thrilled to have Dr. Tonya LaLonde join us on the Sage Aging Podcast, and we can’t wait for you to benefit from her experience and commitment to improving hearing health. Learn more about Tonya LaLonde and her work.
What We Covered
Types of Hearing Loss :
What are the main types of hearing loss and how do they differ from each other?
What is the most common type of hearing loss?
Hearing aids vs. other medical interventions – how do you know which is right for you?
When You Need Them, When You Should Get Them:
What are the signs that someone might have hearing loss and need a hearing aid?
Why is early intervention important in treating hearing loss?
What’s the financial investment we’re looking at when it comes to hearing aids?
Are there certain price points or features that people should be wary of?
Over the Counter vs. Professional Aids:
How do over-the-counter hearing aids compare to professionally fitted ones?
Audiologist vs. Hearing Aid Dispenser:
What is the difference between consulting an audiologist and a hearing aid dispenser? Why might someone choose one over the other?
The Link to Cognitive Decline:
The relationship between untreated hearing loss and cognitive decline?
For the answers to all these questions and more, listen to this episode via the links above or access the transcript below. This episode is a must-listen for anyone who wants to gain a deeper understanding of hearing health. Whether you or a loved one is dealing with hearing loss or you simply want to be informed, this conversation is filled with valuable insights.
Sound Advice: Navigating Hearing Loss and Hearing Aids
[00:00:07] Liz Craven: Did you know that approximately one in three people in the United States between the ages of 65 and 74 has hearing loss and that number jumps to nearly one in two for those older than 75. Hi, I’m Liz Craven, and this is the Sage Aging Podcast.
Before I introduce today’s guest, I have a quick favor to ask.
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Joining me for this episode today is Dr. Tonya LaLonde. She’s a doctor of audiology at Central Florida Speech and Hearing Center. We’re gonna pick her brain today to learn more about hearing loss and hearing aids from the types of hearing loss that require them to when you should get them, and how much you should be paying for them.
Dr. LaLonde, welcome to Sage Aging Podcast. Thanks so much for joining me.
[00:01:15] Tonya LaLonde: Well, thank you so much for having us. It is our pleasure to talk about this very, very important topic with our seniors about our seniors for our seniors benefit.
[00:01:26] Liz Craven: Absolutely. And we did have Roxanne on the show. Not too long ago. It was about a year ago now that she came
on, and we talk about hearing loss issues then, but this is a topic that we really can’t talk about too much because though it seems like a small thing and it seems like something that you just worry about later, it’s something that affects of all ages and can have very negative impact later on.
So I’m really glad that we’re talking
about this again today, and. At the top of the show, I shared a couple of stats that might have been a little bit surprising for some people. So let’s
start by going over the different types of hearing loss that one might experience.
[00:02:14] Tonya LaLonde: Okay. We talk about as audiologists, which are doctors of audiology. We’re hearing professionals. We talk about three different types of hearing loss. There is a type where there is a misfiring of little hairs, hair cells in the inner ear, but there’s no visible hearing loss on a hearing test. But they’re still having extra sounds that are not supposed to be there, and that is called tinnitus or tinnitus.
And that is a type of hearing loss. We do talk about that. Um, but the hearing loss doesn’t, um, show up on a hearing test as a visible hearing loss. Okay. That’s one type, extra sounds. second type is a conductive type of a hearing loss, where it is largely in the lower pitches. And it’s largely having to do with something going on in the middle part of the ear.
Um, in the middle part of the ear, you can get things like infections, sinus infections, you can get arthritis. Actually in the tiny little between those tiny bones in the middle ear. So there’s different things that can go wrong that cause a conductive hearing loss, and most of those are medically treatable.
So when we do a comprehensive hearing test, we tell you exactly who you should go to for the hearing help. Okay. ’cause sometimes it’s a medical issue. Um, the third type is the most common. It’s a sensory neural hearing loss. And for older adults, um, or people who’ve been exposed to a lot of loud noises, that generally is fixed in the higher pitches.
It doesn’t have to always be in the high pitches, but it’s most common that it is, and that’s where the clarity of speech is. And the only help for that kind of a hearing loss hearing aids to bring the sound back that you’re needing to hear, and that will give the clarity back. Um, people who have this type of a hearing loss will say, I can hear, but I can’t understand if people just spoke clearer.
It just sounds like they’re mumbling all the time. . Um, that’s the type of complaints we get with somebody with this type of a hearing loss,
[00:04:40] Liz Craven: It’s so interesting. I bet. A lot of people’s ears perked up when you said the ringing in the ears and described it as a type of hearing loss, because a lot of us experience that. But certainly if someone were to ask us, do you have hearing loss,
We would say no. So,
Talk a little bit more about that because I know a lot of people of all ages suffer from that.
Is there a way to treat that or to make improvement in that? What can people should they be visiting hearing specialist like you if they’re experiencing that?
[00:05:17] Tonya LaLonde: Yes. And that’s where you would go. Um, yes, there is help. There is hope for people who have the ringing in their ears. That’s bothersome. or without a hearing loss associated with it. And definitely we have help available. Um, technology has come a long way and what the first thing we do is do a comprehensive hearing test to find out if there’s a hearing loss with it or not.
Um, there’s also a specialized test we can do, just of those tiny little hairs that are involved in the tinnitus and we can see how many of those are damaged, what is going on inside, that way we can make sure that we’re treating the right thing.
Um, and then when we do that treatment, there’s something called tinnitus retraining therapy, um, for people who do not have a hearing loss.
Or people who do have a hearing loss are in that 15% bracket where hearing aids don’t help with the tinnitus, and that’s only 15% if a hearing loss is available. We treat the hearing loss with the hearing aids and there is sound therapy to help with the tinnitus to help manage it and reduce its impact in your life.
So it is a management program.
[00:06:46] Liz Craven: That’s really encouraging to hear. I, for one, do suffer from that. Um, not to the degree that it’s disruptive of my life,
but over the years it’s just been something that’s always been there. And I’ve always thought, oh, well, you know, you just live with that. You learn to live with it, and that’s what it is.
But perhaps I need to come see you
[00:07:09] Tonya LaLonde: Well, perhaps we can start with an evaluation. You need to establish a baseline for your hearing
anyway. , the American Physicians Association recommends annual hearing tests. For everyone, especially once you’re over the age of 65 every year. Um, up until then, you can at least get a baseline when you still consider your hearing normal, and that way you have something to compare it to later.
[00:07:37] Liz Craven: Right.
You know, that’s a really great point. And I, you know, we, we go to the dentist and have our teeth cleaned every year we go to our primary care physician and we have, um, a physical done. Some of us go and get our vision tested annually.
I would say that that’s probably, Um, similar to hearing that a lot of people kind of put it the back burner until they’re experiencing something that they perceive to be serious.
Um, But we often don’t think about our hearing as something we need to pay attention to annually. So you mentioned
annually at 65, but at what, age should individuals begin to establish a relationship with someone like you?
[00:08:23] Tonya LaLonde: What we recommend, we recommend that when your hearing is still normal, anytime before the age of 50, you come and just get a baseline. And then once you’re 50, if you have it checked every other year or when you notice a definite change, Um, that way you’re keeping on top of monitoring your hearing health and the monitoring is very important, and keeping on top of it is important because of the tie to cognitive functionality. Between hearing and cognitive functionality,
there is a very, very, very close relationship and connection there. Hearing is a huge part of your brain’s work. There’s a very large portion of the brain that is dedicated for hearing only. Um, so when we have a deficit in the hearing, it very quickly reveals itself as a deficit in your cognitive ability.
You’ll see cognitive decline in an untreated hearing loss. It’s a very, very tight close connection there between those two. Um, and so we recommend keeping on top of it so you don’t end up with any decline if you can help it. Um, because we wanna keep our mind functioning as long and as strong as we can.
So you have the greatest life. and we want to have that health and that happiness available of communicating. That’s such a vital role in our social, in our social lives and social wellbeing. And
we are to be social creatures. so if you don’t have that ability to communicate well, you’re going to start having some degeneration of the cognitive function.
[00:10:14] Liz Craven: That’s a great point. And there have been so many incredible studies happening over the last number of years, probably five or six years that I’ve seen, um, that are illustrating that exact point. So thank you for bringing that up. And I think you that. That leads to, I guess the, the statement of most importance is that we have to start paying attention to it, and we have to make sure that we work on the preventive end before we allow things to get too far out of order.
Um, I just think that
nature, we ignore a lot of things that we probably should pay closer attention to and, and maybe we even know it, but we just don’t take it seriously. So here you go, everybody. Here’s your sign, . Go get your hearing tested and make sure you’re paying
attention to that. let’s go back to, um, you mentioned the third type of hearing loss that you mentioned, you said is the most common.
Let’s talk about that and, and maybe some of the signs. That might present before someone decides to come and see you.
[00:11:22] Tonya LaLonde: Okay. What we’ll get is a lot of people that come in and they’ll say, um, my husband wanted me to come get tested. My
told me I needed to come get tested . So what a, a very common pattern is that the people closest to you see it before you do . That makes complete and sense to me
because we are just in the habit of, if we don’t hear it, say, what was that?
You know, it’s a habit. We don’t stop and think, am I asking people to repeat so often? You know, we just don’t put those two together naturally. We’re generally more reactionary than we are proactive with our health in honesty. And so, um, what we’ll see most is . Spouse’s complaints, friends complaints, neighbor’s
My neighbor said I had to come in here and she keeps nagging me and stuff like that. You’ll see, but,
a good neighbor.
then. . Yeah. That is a good neighbor. You have, we have a lot of good neighbors in the senior communities and stuff like that. That’s really helpful. Um, but the, the biggest complaint we’ll see in the patients when we start asking questions, are you having difficulty hearing when it’s noisy?
That’s a big one. That’s a big red flag that something is amiss. the noise comes around. For normal people, they can usually handle a little bit of the understanding in the noise. if they have to raise their voice a little bit, that’s normal. But to not hear anything in there or not be able to take any information away other than the noise, it’s a little problematic.
That’s kind of a good sign that you need to come and get checked out. Um, the other thing is if it sounds like everybody’s mumbling, probably not everybody’s mumbling ,
more a matter your clarity is not what it once was, and so then
the people that are mumbling, it’s. It’s that I’m not hearing the high pitches enough to tell what they’re saying and I’m hearing all the low pitches.
So they end up all sounding like Charlie Brown adult wa wa wa . So, so you get a little bit of that. So we’ll have complaints of clarity. I’m mixing up words, I’m mishearing things . Um, people have people, and this is a complaint. People will try to talk to me from the other room, or they’re not, they don’t look right at me.
Yeah. , they don’t look right at me when they’re talking to me, so I can’t tell what they’re saying. Well, if just not looking at your face makes you mishear. Probably you’re relying on reading their lips a little bit more than you think. See? So there’s
good point. Yes. So those are
Look at. Yeah. It’s this warning signs. Am I having a lot of trouble in noise? Am I having difficulty hearing whispers? Do people have to raise their voice? Do they have to repeat themselves a lot? These are the questions you would ask.
[00:15:00] Liz Craven: So now let’s say we’ve determined we have an issue and we make an appointment. We have our hearing tested, and come up with a diagnosis, and here’s where we are. How do you know what assistive and helpful devices to turn to at that point? There are so many things available, and frankly, even if your loved one says, I am not getting my hearing tested, there’s nothing wrong with me, there are still some things we could probably put into place in the home that would help a little bit.
But ideally, where would you start with someone?
[00:15:40] Tonya LaLonde: Okay. Where I would . Start is I would ask a lot about lifestyle. Um, what do you like to do? Do you stay home all the time? And if you do stay home all the time, are you staying home because you can’t enjoy the conversation and you’re not hearing properly or because you really are a homebody? And I would ask these kinds of questions, lifestyle questions.
If you could hear properly, would you go out more? Those kinds of things because if somebody has a more active lifestyle, then I would steer them toward hearing aids that have the digital technology in it to help with things like background noise, help reduce that, with feedback control, help with wind noise reduction.
So if they’re active, I would steer them towards hearing aids. Um, now I would not necessarily do that for somebody who is, um, bedridden or, um, maybe in a hospice situation where the, um, they don’t want to be bothered or dementia patient where they can’t be bothered with something in their ears because they’ve got so much else going on.
Then there are assistive technologies to help with them. . Things like a pocket talker, something like TV ears. There’s other assistive devices. Um, there, the pocket talker can have a microphone on it or it can have, um, an overall like personal held microphone or an overall, the room microphone where it picks up the noises and puts it right in their ears.
So for someone like that, I would use a different level of technology. Um, and not, not worry with the hearing aids because hearing aids is a commitment. It has to be somebody proactively working towards improving their social health, their overall health. So they are have, they have to be ready for them, they have to be committed.
And then we would go with the hearing aid. If it’s something with tinnitus and no hearing loss, we would do a masker, which is a, it’s not a masker so much, it’s like a sound therapy that works like a masker in a similar vein. But a little bit better than a masker. It’s more of a management technique tool.
[00:18:13] Liz Craven: And, is that something they wear all the time, like a hearing aid?
[00:18:19] Tonya LaLonde: they would wear it, um, much of the day for like eight hours a day. , um, and it would cover that certain pitch that the tinnitus is at. So we would find out what pitch that is, and then we would cover it with the sound that they choose, that they like to listen to. Um,
chime. Some people it’s music, some people it’s, um, white noise.
Everybody has a different preference.
And then after a while that is turned down. So in a couple weeks we turn it down a little and eventually it’s down to where it’s off and no longer needed. And they have reacclimated to that. Um, the tinnitus by the way, never does go away, but you stop perceiving it.
what we’re doing is tricking the mind.
[00:19:12] Liz Craven: That is just fascinating.
All of this is The ear is a fascinating thing.
It’s much more complex than people think.
[00:19:20] Tonya LaLonde: Yes, most definitely. And, and frankly, I don’t know why we don’t think about our hearing more because it affects everything that we do. It’s kind of like taste and, you know, all of our senses. When you’re without one of them, you realize how important it is and how much you really use it in your everyday life.
But, um, hearing is vital because it’s what it’ll, it’s what allows us to communicate with other people.
Mm-hmm. . Yes. And we notice, um, There is that, um, cognitive decline happens with a lack of stimulation in the hearing. It also happens with a lack of social, um, socializing. So when people it, which is kind of a double whammy because when
very well, you start to withdraw because you don’t get enough out of the situation.
You’re frustrated and stuff like that. So when you have that socialization, That is a way also to improve your cognitive functionality. So I even tell seniors another way to be proactive about your mental health is . To socialize, get in groups, go to so, um, community centers, play games with people, do puzzles together, not just by yourself.
Do and things that, that are fun together, because those kinds of things are what we need for our brain to keep processing the way it used to when we were little and socializing all the time. When you’re
That makes lot of work, through school, and when you’re older you tend to not do it, and that’s when you still need to keep doing it to keep those neurons talking.
[00:21:10] Liz Craven: Right. It’s probably even more important as we age than it was in the middle stages of our life. You know, it’s when we’re kids, it’s so important for development, and then we get to that middle stage of life where we’re working and we’re doing our thing, we’re raising our kids. but as soon as those kids go off to college and move on and they’re out on their own, and you become become an empty nester. The social engagement starts to get important, but as you age further and other
things start to happen in your life and you become less mobile and less able-bodied, um, that is when I think that engagement is vital for people.
And unfortunately, a lot of
from the lack of that in their life.
Hopefully we can make a difference by continuing to say that out loud.
[00:22:02] Tonya LaLonde: Yes. Yes. Education is the, is the key.
why I go into senior community groups and senior facilities, um, nursing homes, and I teach and train about this stuff. ’cause if you can prevent , A problem, you’re, you’re much more likely to be better at cause at, um, curing it.
So you wanna prevent the issue to begin with.
And education is the key. So all of us, we are in dealing with a senior population, we all need to push getting together. Let’s do stuff together. Yeah, it’s very important.
[00:22:43] Liz Craven: And not just with people their own age, but people of all ages. The intergenerational connections are incredible for everyone
involved. There’s older adults who have all this amazing life and work experience and so many
lessons just sitting there waiting to be shared. Um, and our youth can really benefit from that, from mentorship maybe reading programs.
I know there are a lot of reading programs. Within the schools where older adults can go in and read to the kids, and I love seeing things like that and think that on each, at each point, every person involved in those engagements is getting something that’s very specific to them that they need and that is beneficial for them.
[00:23:29] Tonya LaLonde: Absolutely.
[00:23:29] Liz Craven: Yeah.
Well, let’s turn our attention real quick because I know that this is something that anyone who’s listening is thinking, okay, great. I, I probably could use a hearing aid. I probably could use an assistive device or treatment of some kind, but can’t afford it. So
let’s talk about the dollars and cents for paying attention to your hearing.
[00:23:55] Tonya LaLonde: Okay. Um, now lot of the money involved is gonna depend on where you go, what I would recommend is that you go to an audiologist. You go to an audiologist, which is a specialist. A specialist in hearing and balance. That’s what an audiologist is. all have a doctorate. We have a lot of education behind us.
We have the medical knowledge that’s needed to make these decisions. Once an audiologist that you need, um, a hearing aid, for instance, if we go with the hearing aid, What we would do is file it with your insurance. We would call the insurance company and find out what the hearing aid benefit is.
Once you know what the hearing aid benefit is, and we have people in our office that call, um, once you know what the hearing aid benefit is, then that arms you with the, the discount that you will get. Or, um, some of them pay the full price of the hearing aid. So lot of what insurance you have will determine how much you end up having to pay out of pocket.
But in general, our prices vary between 3000 and 6800. And that is our top of the line. Top, top, top. If anyone charges more than that, um, then go somewhere else. Say
you have that
You don’t have to be strong armed into anything and you should get two or three opinions. It’s like anything else. Um, but go where it’s covered by insurance, which is usually an audiologist.
Go where the price is not going to be more than 6,800 because they are expensive devices, there’s no doubt about it. But you shouldn’t pay more than you have to, and that’s our highest price. And that’s because we’re a nonprofit organization. We only charge is necessary for us to keep the doors open and pay for the products.
So that’s what we focus on. Um, so don’t be taking an advantage of, um, there are Unreputable . Um, people in every profession, there are
people in every profession. You know, now the price range between three and 6,800, that should be your price range. If anyone is way above that, think about another solution.
Um, so now that you know you’re armed with that number, then you can make the decision. Whether you want to go with this person, whether you want to go to this person, okay. But go where your insurance helps cover it because any help we get is going to be great.
And then we have other, um, as a nonprofit, we accept a lot of people that, a lot of insurances that most other people don’t, so you have to go with that.
[00:27:03] Liz Craven: Right,
So where would one look to find a reputable audiologist? Because there are, you can,
if you look on TV any day of The week, you’ll see five or six commercials that are saying, Hey, come. Come see us for your hearing issues. And that’s a lot to decipher, you know, in, in a
few seconds on it might sound good and look good, but what, what are they really gonna walk into and do
we know that they’re looking at a reputable organization?
[00:27:37] Tonya LaLonde: right. first, the first thing I would do is say, is ask the question when you call to make an appointment, if you’re thinking about a place. Say, is there an audiologist that works there? Do you have an audiologist? Um, no. We have a hearing instrument specialist. We have a hearing aid dispenser. Um, then that’s probably not going to be your best fit, um, because they will not give you the medical side of it.
Um, plus only some of them accept insurance. Some of
them do. .Um, some are great. Um, but
I really want you to have that medical evaluation first and foremost. ’cause you don’t wanna treat the wrong thing. And if
ever says you’d, now you don’t need a, you don’t need a hearing, you don’t need a medical evaluation.
You don’t need a full audiogram. You just need your hearing tested. Steer yourself somewhere else. Um, because
they’re not telling you what’s best for you. They’re telling you what’s best for them,
because a reputable place is going to say, I’d like you to get medically checked out first before you come here.
Once you get that checkout, you can go wherever you want with that information. , but you will know for sure, oh, this could have been medically treatable. could have had, have had some medication that helped with this. I could have had a surgical intervention. It would’ve taken care of it, and you will know for sure that that’s the case or not.
See, so that’s one of the things you can do is say, is there an audiologist that works there? Because we have the training, we have to sign a code of ethics. We have to take classes every year to keep on top of everything. Um, so that would be the number one thing that I would do is go to an audiologist.
[00:29:40] Liz Craven: That’s really, really good advice. I mean, honestly, when you’re having any kind of medical, um, , appointments, treatments of any kind. I kind of want the person who specializes,
And be careful.
[00:29:55] Tonya LaLonde: Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. You wouldn’t go into, like if you’ve never had an test before, you wouldn’t just walk up to a counter and grab a pair of glasses that they’re
the street. because you don’t even know what your prescription is. You could make your your vision worse.
you don’t wanna take that risk with your health,
go and get the information. It’s the hearing test is always covered by your insurance. So go in and get that comprehensive hearing evaluation, and then you will know where to go from there.
[00:30:37] Liz Craven: Right, right. And it is all individual, and that’s the importance of going and getting your checkup.
Good advice. Good advice.
So, uh, as it relates to the home devices, are there specific ones? For instance, you know, I’m thinking of the people who have a loved one who is just stubborn and says, I am not going to get my ears checked.
I’m just fine. don’t need that. I know there are devices like, um,
amplified phones but are there certain things that you recommend to kind of bridge the
gap they can convince their loved one to get checked?
[00:31:17] Tonya LaLonde: Yes. Um, what, what you can do, um, for the tv, you can do the TV ears. Or you could put additional speakers, um, around you, like a surround sound kind of a thing. You’re gonna get, they’re gonna get more from that as far as talking to other people. Um, you can do things like, look them in the eye, look right at them.
Come, come into the room where they are and look them in the eye when you talk to them because they’re going to be able to participate in that conversation better that way. If you have, because if their hearing is bad, and especially if they’re being stubborn about it, they’re actually reading lips without realizing it.
Um, so if you come into the room, talk to them face to face, that’s going to be beneficial. Um, if you can throw your voice, and some people are better at this than others. If you throw your voice into a lower register and talk to them lower, which is kind of funny, but it works because most of the hearing losses in the high pitches,
So they’ll be like, they’ll say things like, I can understand when your brother talks to me, but when you talk to me, it’s, it’s, I can’t understand you. It’s because the low pitches are easier for them to understand. So if you can throw your voice that was gonna help them be a part of the conversation. Um, the pocket talker, I recommend more for people who still will wear something.
’cause you still have to admit you have a hearing loss for that even. . You know, so there’s, there’s limitation you can do against someone’s will , but these strategies are going to help . still have to be involved in it.
[00:33:08] Liz Craven: Thank you. Hopefully they come around and see the light at some point, but, um,
yeah, maybe make life a little bit easier. Those are really great tips. Well, can you think of
anything that we didn’t cover that we should have as it relates to hearing loss in general? I.
[00:33:26] Tonya LaLonde: yes. I want to mention over the counter hearing aids because that
become a huge deal because the F D A authorized the sale of those. Um, so what I usually say about them, is, it’s the difference. Um, if you think of the vision example again, the difference between going and grabbing something off the shelf at your local pharmacy.
They have those little glasses and putting them on as opposed
Yeah. As opposed to getting a prescription from and getting a good quality. Pair of glasses that are exactly what you need. Okay.
That’s kind of the same difference between over the counter versus the professional hearing aids. Um, the
hearing aids, um, are the ones they sell at, um, Sam’s Club, Costco, Walmart, um, you can see ’em on a lot of shelves.
You can see ’em in catalogs online. Um, those over the counter ones, . Number one, don’t need a prescription. they even do a hear a foe hearing test on the computer. There’s nothing calibrated. Yeah, it’s insane. It’s insane. Um, they’ll not need medical clearance. Not a medical evaluation. So if sometimes people will get them and we’ll, they’ll come into, our center and we’re like, well, your ears are impacted with wax.
like, I tried over counter hearing aids and because they’d never had an evaluation. See, it might just
be wax in your ears and we can
that is so true.
[00:35:17] Liz Craven: the way. ,
[00:35:18] Tonya LaLonde: Yeah.
[00:35:19] Liz Craven: but you know, get treated for the right thing, for heaven’s sakes. So the over the counters, they don’t require the medical treatment or the medical evaluation.
They’re not custom fitted. They kind of go by a ones all one size, fits all mentality, which is never true because everybody’s ear canal is shaped and configured differently. We’re all different people. We have all different sizes and shapes of ear canals. So these things are important. They don’t have the sound quality, the filters for noise.
don’t have filters for feedback, and the feedback gets rid of the high pitches. So if the, if there’s no di um feedback filter, the high pitches are not going to be very loud at all. And that’s mostly what people need.
So I don’t think that people in general are happy with them they already have medical evaluation and their hearing loss is small,
then you can get away with, that.
It’s not gonna sound good, but you can get away with it. Um, but
for most part, go to a professional, get professional grade, plus the over the counters are not covered by insurance either. your insur insurance won’t help you out. . So for the same price with the insurance help, you can get something of significantly greater quality and what you actually need.
’cause think if you go the wrong direction And you pick something over the counter up, but it’s the wrong thing. It’s not the type of hearing loss that you have. If you’ve got a stubborn person that’s gonna be their told you, so, , told
you this wasn’t gonna help me and I’m done. And there’s probably no chance
of taking it to that next level.
Probably better off to just go and get a real evaluation, a medical evaluation to begin with.
[00:37:30] Tonya LaLonde: Yes. Yes. And that’s, that’s the biggest takeaway. Go to an audiologist. Get a full medical evaluation and then go from there. They will tell you options. They will even put devices on you to demo so you can hear what it will sound like before you decide to proceed. Um, and that’s very important.
And if people aren’t willing to do that, go somewhere else.
[00:38:00] Liz Craven: that’s, I think that’s my biggest takeaway is the difference between an audiologist going to see an audiologist and going to a dispensary. know, it, it, they all
kind of on the outside seem, well, . If they do hearing aids, they’ll help me with my hearing. You know, that’s the, that’s the goal of each of those places.
But you’re really getting apples versus oranges.
[00:38:25] Tonya LaLonde: right? Yes. It’s like I, I talked about this in class. Today, I just did a class on this today. Um, and it’s like the difference between the cheap speakers that we used to have in our cars. And then
go into Best Buy in, you hear the high fidelity quality, and you hear that difference. That’s actually the difference of sound, that’s
the sound that’s not even all the digital filters and things that are there.
So it’s really apples and oranges, like you said, and you’re absolutely right about that because it’s just gonna be much better and having exactly what you need, the, the precise prescription instead of too much of this or too much of that, um, it’s just gonna make you so much happier.
And then you’ll wear them.
And the longer you wear them, the more it will improve your cognitive functionality. So your cognitive health, your brain will keep working more and more. It’ll become better and better over time.
[00:39:32] Liz Craven: Well, Dr. LaLonde, thank you so much for joining me today. Do you have a small bit of sage advice that you’d like to leave our listeners with? I.
[00:39:43] Tonya LaLonde: Yes, be proactive with your health. Don’t wait for things to happen. Go in and explore. Get as much information as you can because not only will you improve your cognitive functionality by doing the research, but you are being positive in your life to help yourself to become knowledgeable. To prevent decline, you are going to be happier and more joyful, and the more social you get, the better that will get also.
So be proactive. Get the help. Establish a baseline, go see an audiologist, but also just get active in general. Be a part of games. Have a game night. Host it at your house. Have it potluck so you don’t have to bring a thing.
That is great advice. Thank you so much and thanks for sharing time with us today.
[00:40:48] Liz Craven: Oh, you’re very welcome. Thanks so much for having us on. . . I
[00:40:52] Tonya LaLonde: You’re welcome back anytime.
And thank all of you for tuning in. Be sure to visit us at eldercareguide.com where you’ll find a detailed blog post with the links to everything we mentioned as it relates to resources in this episode, and these references will also be available in the show notes for easy access.
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Well, that’ll do it.
for today. Keep listening, keep learning, and stay sage.
Disclaimer: The content in this blog post is meant for general informational purposes and should not be considered professional advice. While we strive for accuracy, we recommend consulting experts for specific guidance. We are not responsiblefor any decisions made based on this information.
Liz Craven, co-publisher of Sage Aging ElderCare Guide with her husband Wes, combines personal experience and heartfelt dedication in her work. Their journey in eldercare began with a personal story—caring for Wes' grandmother, Mabel, who lived with Alzheimer's. This chapter in their lives not only highlighted the complexities of eldercare but also kindled a deep-seated passion to support others facing similar challenges. Since then, Liz and Wes have navigated caregiving three more times. These experiences have added layers of depth to their insights, allowing them to offer a blend of empathetic understanding and practical advice through the Sage Aging ElderCare Guide. Liz’s commitment to making eldercare more approachable and less daunting shines through in every piece of advice she offers, aiming to ease the caregiving journey for others.