What’s In Your Toolbox?
When it comes to life I do not believe in shortcuts. I like to set goals for myself and then exceed them. So, when I discovered a love of yoga, I became an instructor. When I felt bakery cakes did not taste as good as they looked I learned to bake my from scratch and decorate them well enough to display in a bakery. Of course, this level of baking enjoyment comes with expenses. Over the years I’ve purchased pans of all shapes and sizes, decorating tips, rotating bases, professional oversized decorating knifes, edging tools, cardboard bases of all sizes, dowels, and a variety of the best food colors. You would think with all this that I am baking every weekend. But I’m not. It is more of a once a month thing. But to me it is worth the investment as I get to enjoy time in the kitchen creating a masterpiece for my family and friends.
I tell this story as I feel it has many parallels to the hearing aid selection process. When I first began practicing as an audiologist, I was given a laminated graph to help me determine the best hearing aid for a patient based on their lifestyle. The thought process behind this was that patient’s would select the scenario most representative of their day to day life and that would determine the level of hearing aid technology that was appropriate for them. To give you a general idea, someone who was retired and only going out of the house a few times a month was prescribed entry level instruments; someone who went to religious services and restaurants at least once a week and enjoyed music would be prescribed mid-level; and someone still working, going to meetings, dinners etc. was prescribed high-end hearing aids. While on the surface these seems to makes sense years of experience has taught me that this system could not be more flawed.
Here’s the thing. Even though I’m only going to delve into baking about once a month, it doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have the right tools available to me when I do. Without the correct equipment the task of making my creations becomes much more difficult and less enjoyable. Along those same lines just because my client is only getting into groups once a month doesn’t mean their hearing aids shouldn’t have the features available to handle those situations when they arise. Without the correct technology the ability to hear conversation when background noise is present becomes much harder and a lot less enjoyable. So instead of enjoying the company of others they become frustrated and fatigue just trying to follow along which eventually leads to an aversion to what should have been an otherwise enjoyable gathering.
Does it make sense then, to select a hearing aid for your day to day life or for the events that are most important to you? Imagine if your job required little personal interaction on a daily basis, but when you did meet with clients it was typically with multiple people at once and almost always ended in a noisy restaurant. I think we’d all agree that this person needs a hearing aid that can perform in difficult listening environments as this is when they need to succeed.
Quality vs. Quantity
It comes down to quality vs. quantity. The quality of those important moments spent with others is more important than how often they occur. Even though we only celebrate Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year’s once a year we look forward to these celebration as it is a time to come together with family and friends. So, when it is time for you to upgrade your current hearing aids or purchase some for the first time strongly consider getting a set that can handle the moments most important to you.