How Hearing Loss Differs from Vision Loss

Despite the fact that people often think hearing loss and vision loss are very similar, these types of changes to our senses are actually quite different, particularly in terms of correcting for them.

Often when vision loss is addressed, the end result is referred to as “corrected to normal.” For those with hearing loss, the end result is a little different. We are relying on an electronic device (a hearing aid) to do the job our ears and brains have been perfected to do. Even when we correct for hearing loss, it will always be somewhat different than normal hearing. Though hearing aids don’t “correct to normal,” thanks to advancements in current technology, they can certainly come close.

The key to getting the most from your hearing aids is to remember that your brain needs time to adjust to this new way of hearing. When you’re fit with glasses for the first time, the world goes from out of focus to perfect focus in an instant. With hearing aids, as you begin to wear them, the world will certainly sound louder and clearer, but can also sound overwhelming at times. Your brain needs time to learn how to tune out background noise and focus on the sounds you want to hear.

In addition to this adjustment period, there is the issue that your hearing system may not be in perfect shape anymore. With permanent hearing loss, there can be some internal distortion in your hearing nerve, which means even when sound is loud enough, it may not sound perfectly clear to you.

It’s not uncommon to be fit with glasses and not have to see your vision care provider for years at a time. In contrast, having regular contact with your audiologist is crucial to your success with your hearing aids. Each person’s hearing system is different, and with the help of your audiologist, your hearing aids can be fine-tuned to best suit your personal hearing needs and improve your ease of listening.