Nola Aronson from Advanced Audiology is addressing a common belief that hearing loss has to do entirely with volume, clarifying that clarity of sound is a large component too.
“One of the things that I’ve been finding lately that people don’t understand is that when they think of a hearing loss, they think of deafness,” said Aronson, adding that hearing loss can often be an inability to clearly hear certain letters in the alphabet.
“We have about 20 letters in the English language that are in our language 80 percent of the time — letters like ‘s’ and ‘f’ and ‘th’ and ‘v’ and ‘p,’” Aronson explained. “And when you’re missing just one letter in a word, you’re missing the context of what somebody is saying.”
If an individual frequently has difficulty understanding someone during conversation, often asks people to repeat themselves or assumes others constantly mumble may really have a hearing loss, according to Aronson.
For example, one of Aronson’s patients delayed getting a hearing aid for three years because she believed she did not have a hearing loss. During that time, she had difficulty understanding her pet parrot’s speech, and assumed it was her bird’s issue — not hers.
“‘She said, … ‘I felt like my parrot was getting older and getting lazy,’” Aronson recalled. “‘But you put those hearing aids on me and I went home, and the next morning, my parrot comes out on my arm and says, ‘Good morning. How are you?’ And it was clear as a bell, and I just started laughing (because) it wasn’t my parrot’s speech — it was my hearing.’ And see, that is a true story. I even have a video of it on my website.”
Rather than remaining in denial about potentially having hearing loss, Aronson is encouraging residents to get a free hearing screening and individualized education at Advanced Audiology to help improve their quality of life.
“The reason I’m an audiologist is because I love helping people — I love helping people do better in life, I love helping people with their social lives, just helping in general,” Aronson said. “I’m not out there trying to ‘sell’ you a hearing aid. I’m out there giving you a solution for your hearing loss.”