The Flex Audiology Show | Episode 16 | Auditory Deprivation

06/24/2024 | Flex Audiology Show, Hearing Aids, Patient Resources

Welcome to another episode of the Flex Audiology Show! Today, we’re going to talk a little bit about auditory deprivation and why if you need two hearing aids, you should get two – not just one. There’s a little interesting science behind this, so let’s get right into it. 

Our ears are designed to get the signal up to our brain to process speech; we process speech on different sides of our brain, and our brain craves stimulation, as the only thing that stimulates it is your eyes and your ears.  

If you have a hearing loss in both of your ears, we will always tell you that you should get treatment in both ears. During a comprehensive hearing assessment, we’ll do an auditory deprivation test by having you repeat words in both quiet and in noise, which helps us understand what your hearing is like for both ears. 

I started fitting hearing aids 21 years ago, and back then we didn’t have this information; if somebody came after they’ve decided they only wanted one hearing aid, I would fit them with one hearing aid, as requested.  

What we would see over time is they would come back for follow-up appointments, and in the ear side that we did not put a hearing aid in, the ability to use speech would decrease significantly.  

The challenge is that there’s no way to really predict how quickly this happens. If it’s going to happen to everybody but a high percentage of patients that we saw back, we would see that decline. Now, when we would re-treat them with hearing aids in that ear, it never quite came back a hundred percent, so we really changed our focus and we started saying, “Okay, if patients have loss in both ears, we absolutely must fit them in both ears.” 

If the issue with two hearing aids is a matter of budget, we’d be happy to chat with you about getting two lower-cost hearing aids versus one high-cost hearing aid. If the intricate nerves in your ears are not being stimulated, the nerves atrophy – if you have a hearing loss in both ears, it’s crucial that you wear both hearing aids as you need them. 

I’ve seen many people that come back for follow-up appointments that have elected to just wear one hearing aid instead of their prescribed two. No matter how much we tell them to wear both, we start to see that decline in their hearing, and then they come to see us saying that their hearing aids aren’t working anymore, even though they worked great at first. 

The first thing I always ask is, “Well, have you been wearing them?” 

We can test your hearing and speech scores, and if they’ve gone down, then we’ll encourage you to wear them more often. While it’s not quite as easy as that, over the years that I’ve been fitting hearing aids, I’ve seen that the speech score declines a lot slower for those that have chosen to get aided with hearing aids than when I see those people back in five years when they’re finally ready. 

Early prevention is critical for hearing loss in both ears to maintain your hearing and speech cognition. For hearing loss in both ears, get treated in both ears.  

Local Business Spotlight 

Hive Salon isn’t new; it’s been right outside Hidden Valley by the batting cages for about a year and a half now, but if you haven’t been, I highly recommend you go and check it out. 

Created by Shandy Stath and Jodi Englehart, I use just about all of the services available there: highlights and color for my hair, and I get my nails done by the lovely Kyla – my best kept secret! She’s new, young, on top of all the nail trends… basic pink is my favorite, even if it’s a little boring in comparison. 

The salon itself is just as awesome. It smells wonderful, the décor is fresh and modern, and there’s a ton of great people that work there. If you’re like me and can’t always get in during the work week, there are Saturday appointments and online booking for all of their services. 

Another great thing for their salon is that if, for example, I’m getting my hair done by Shandy and my nails done later by Kyla, I’ll have the opportunity to tip each of them separately for their hard work. Makes sure that they both get recognition for how they’ve dolled me up! 

Hive Salon also has lots of cute present options in their boutique: clothes, earrings, and their collection of soaps always catch my eye for gifts for my family.  

I highly recommend you check them out!  

Concerned about Your Hearing? 

We’re here to help, every step of the way.

Simply request a callback to get in touch with a member of our team to talk more about hearing care, what we can do for you, or to get advice on your unique situation. 

Don’t want to wait? Call us at (812) 532-3011. 

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Dr. Person Au.D, CCC-A

Dr. Person has been a private practice owner since 2005. She currently specializes in hearing aids, tinnitus management and vestibular diagnostics, while operating in an unbundled service delivery model. Dr. Person is the host of The Unbundled Audiologist podcast. She serves as the incoming VP of Audiology for ISHA for a three year term. Her greatest accomplishment is creating a life where she can serve others while still spending quality time with her husband and two small children.