Hearing aids aren’t the only way to hear more sounds. You can clean out your earwax. You can ask people to speak louder. You can invest in an old-school ear trumpet. You can even buy electronic amplification devices from infomercials. Just don’t confuse any of these with hearing aids, or other durable medical equipment, that do more than simply amplify noise.
I liked this recent post on HuffPo from Tracy Stine, who is both deaf and legally blind. She rages against hearing aid infomercials, and I think her points are spot on.
Infomercial amplification devices (I am reluctant to call them hearing aids) can’t be tuned to your personal needs. You may not need every type of sound to be louder. Some sound frequencies may be easier for you to hear than others, and that’s where a legitimate hearing aid can really help. Your spouse’s vocal register may drop too low for you to hear, and a hearing aid tuned by an audiologist may be able to help you recognize those frequencies again.
If you do drop a few bucks for a cheap sound amplification device, you probably owe it to yourself to at least test out an actual hearing aid from an audiologist. Yes, it’ll be more expensive but most people find that the increase in quality of life is more than worth the dollar cost.