The ear is just one link in the long chain of true sound recognition, what we commonly know as listening. If your ear is damaged, hearing aids can help you detect sounds, but do not necessarily improve a person’s ability to listen. There is a fundamental difference between hearing a sound and actually listening. Listening as a skill requires active attention and effort, when the person has a hearing loss, a bigger and more conscious effort is required.
In order to maintain effective communication, good listening skills are essential. Even the most technologically advanced hearing instrument cannot artificially produce the listening skills required for good communication. Therefore, it is often vital for compensatory strategies to be used in conjunction with optimally programmed hearing aids to achieve effective communication.
Some individuals may subconsciously develop compensatory strategies that lead to successful hearing aid use and effective communication. However, this is not always the case and often people with hearing loss tend to develop bad habits and isolate themselves from social situations due to poor communication skills. It is therefore important that additional counselling be provided in conjunction with hearing aid fitting to ensure optimal outcomes are achieved.