Guest Authored by Eargo customer, Blake
My family has a multi-generational history of hearing loss. My grandfather worked with heavy equipment and lost most of the hearing in his left ear. He was an inspiring man who loved to talk about politics and science, and I have many cherished memories of the long conversations we shared. I also remember those early conversations filled with hearing aid volume adjustments and repeated sentences.
When I was in grade school, my mom got her hearing tested and found out that she had hereditary hearing loss in both ears. An audiologist fit her with discreet hearing aids that made a big difference and helped her feel more comfortable in social settings and with her family. Later, my younger brother had his hearing tested and learned that he also hereditary hearing loss in both ears. He was fitted with a pair of behind the ear hearing aids that he still wears.
I knew that I also had some hearing loss, but I wasn't ready to get tested or fit with hearing aids. My high school and early adulthood friends were aware that I relied on lip reading and learned to speak more loudly when I was around. When I found a partner, she was kind enough to repeat things when I missed key words or info in public.
The week of my 30th birthday, as I came upon two decades of adapting and adjusting without ever being officially treated for hearing loss, I decided to get my hearing tested and try hearing aids.
When I look back at the years I waited, I can point to a few things that held me back. I hope that my experience can be a helpful aid to your exploration.
I have mild to moderate hearing loss. My losses are enough that most of my close friends and colleagues know, but not enough to be too disruptive to my life. Because I had hearing loss from a young age, I am an adept lip reader and have learned lots of little techniques to navigate the sounds around me.
So what changed? After putting off hearing aids for so long, I reconsidered for a couple of reasons. First, I was about to turn 30, and as I looked at the decade ahead and the goals I had in my career and family, I didn't want the distraction of constant adaptation. The second reason is that my wife and I found out we were expecting a little girl. I can ask the adults in my life to speak up or turn towards me when they speak, but I won't have those same luxuries with a baby and a small child.
Ultimately, I can live with untreated hearing loss, but I didn't want to work around it anymore. I decided to see hearing aids as an opportunity to invest in myself and my family. As I've talked to other hearing aid wearers, this story seems to be a familiar one. Typically people are inspired to try hearing aids because they want to engage grandchildren, spouses or social settings more fully, and they don't want to settle for the workarounds they've developed over the years.
The second reason that I waited so long is that getting hearing aids felt complicated. In many ways, it should have been easy for me. I'm fairly tech-savvy and have family who has shared their experiences, but still, the prospect of finding an audiologist, setting an appointment, understanding my options, and determining what I could afford felt like a lot to navigate. It was a rainy day project that I just put off for years.
I realized that a simple first step was to take a hearing test. I got my hearing tested and later found great online tests you can take in a quiet room. Eargo has one such test which you can take here. If you are on the fence about trying hearing aids, I'd recommend finding a low-risk test or screening option. Merely knowing your numbers will give you much more confidence as you consider future steps.
The final reason I waited so long to try hearing aids is that I couldn't shake the feeling that hearing aids wouldn't fit my life. I'm very active, ambitious, and social, and it felt that hearing aids might slow me down or be uncomfortable to explain to my friends and colleagues. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
A turning point for me came at a company offsite when a colleague, that I very much respect, shared that he has worn hearing aids as long as I've known him. I realized that I had never noticed and that this new knowledge made him feel more tech-savvy and self-reliant. I got a glimpse of a future where I might get the same reception from my colleagues and friends.
A few weeks after getting my hearing checked and seeing the hearing loss I had known about for years put on paper, I decided to purchase a pair of Eargos. I was attracted to Eargo for its modern branding, invisible design, and sleek recharging capabilities. I was drawn to an option that didn't require many in-person visits and allowed me to connect with an audiologist online. Ultimately, Eargo was the perfect brand to get me off the ledge I had waited on for almost two decades.
You can read Blake's full review of his Eargo experience here.