ridicuLIST: Hearing Aids Solve Everything

Posted by: Staff Writer on Nov. 13, 2013

A bartender recently told me a story: "I dated this Latvian girl when my Mexican accent was still heavy. I told her parents I was planning to go back to Mexico. They kept saying they were so proud of me." “I was confused. Later, they asked me: ‘So, what made you decide to go to medical school?’"

This is a prelude to why hearing aids don't solve everything for the deaf and hard of hearing. For one, even hearing people can’t always untangle foreign accents. 

Living in the 21st Century means technological advances have raised our expectations and assumptions. One of these assumptions:  Wearing glasses or contact lenses will restore one’s vision 100%. The same must be true for hearing aids, right?

False. In reality, hearing aids are very conditional, in that “I can hear sounds, but still have no idea what these sounds mean.”

Background noise: Nature abhors a vacuum, but don’t communicate in vacuums. This means signal to noise ratio (S/R) can make or break how much you get out of your hearing aid. In a bar, restaurant, and most *social gatherings, you can’t control S/R just by flipping a switch.

*Last time we checked, Deaf people don’t party in tombs and crypts.

Absence of lip-reading: Try having a conversation, using hearing aids, on the phone. If your hearing threshold is above a certain number of decibels (the average person can hear below 5-10 decibels), it’s going to be a very frustrating call.

Even in the days of amped-up technology, hearing aids aren’t that silver bullet. deafREVIEW wants to know: Have your friends and family ever assumed that your hearing aids “solved” your hearing loss?

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