Did you know that hearing loss is one of the most prevalent chronic conditions facing the Canadian population?

In fact, 70 percent of Canadians over the age of 70 suffer from varying degrees of hearing loss. Changes in hearing due to aging or noise exposure can even emerge in people as young as 50 years old, greatly affecting their daily lives. Hearing impairments can lead to social isolation, anxiety, depression, and even the breakdown of relationships with family and friends. Coping with these kinds of issues may cause individuals to feel helpless and skeptical about the care available to them. That’s where Hearing Instrument Specialists (H.I.S.) come in.

In Ontario, H.I.S. are health care professionals certified by the Association of Hearing Instrument Practitioners of Ontario (AHIP). As AHIP members, H.I.S. are obligated to act responsibly in the best interest of their clientele while upholding the highest ethical standards to protect the dignity and honour of the profession as well as the patients they serve. There are three key services H.I.S. provide:

Testing hearing

Hearing loss is often first discovered during a review of patients’ case histories, otoscopic exams, and hearing assessments. H.I.S. are trained to facilitate these assessments in accordance with the AHIP Standards of Practice Policy and will often refer individuals to a physician for follow up if deemed necessary. You do not require a referral to obtain a hearing test.

Hearing aid and assistive device selection

After an assessment and consultation, H.I.S. can recommend hearing instruments or assistive devices to patients. They will take a patient’s lifestyle and physical requirements into consideration to find a device best suited for him or her.

Dispensing and counselling

With a valid prescription from an audiologist or physician in Ontario, H.I.S. can dispense hearing aids to patients. They can also provide ear mould impressions, programming, and instruction. H.I.S. are also equipped to offer ongoing counselling for patients to ensure they’re using their device properly and to its full function.

In essence, H.I.S. are first responders when it comes to hearing loss. As advocates for hearing health,  they tirelessly champion progressive and prevention-based treatments that yield considerable benefits for those suffering from hearing loss, including:

  • Preventing auditory deprivation
  • Preserving patients’ speech recognition and understanding
  • Decreasing anxiety and depression by strengthening individuals’ communication skills
  • Reducing social isolation by strengthening relationships with family and friends

Overall, H.I.S. are able to effectively improve the quality of life for those dealing with hearing loss. The key to healthy hearing is to confront any emerging issues early on before they develop into lifelong ailments.

If you no longer hear as well as you once did, visit helpmehear.ca for educational resources and information about H.I.S. practitioners in your area.