If you have new or increased hearing loss, adjusting to the problem can be a daily challenge. When you have a hearing loss, you have to learn new ways to communicate with loved ones, navigate shopping trips and other outings and watch danger when out in public. There are a few things you can do daily to deal with the challenge of a hearing loss.
The first thing you need to do is be upfront and honest with new people. Tell them about your hearing loss and what they can do to help you understand. Do they need to speak louder, face you when they talk, repeat things? Hiding your hearing loss or not being clear about your needs is not fair to you or others. Your friends and family can only help if they know your needs.
Turn Off the Background Noise
If you’re having dinner, hanging out with friends or riding in a car, turn off the background noise. Focusing in on a conversation is more helpful than trying to discern words through competing sounds.
If you’re receiving instructions or hearing information for the first time, repeat it back to the speaker. It doesn’t hurt to make sure that you’ve received the correct information and in some cases, like asking for directions or crossing the street, it can be essential to safety to understand.
Embrace the Technology
In this day and age of ever-increasing technological advances, there are so many assistance items that can help the hearing challenged. You can have lights installed in your home that will go off when the doorbell rings, the oven timer goes off, or the wash load ends. Special telephones will display conversations on a screen and speakers or hearing amplifiers can be moved closer to your seating to hear TV and radios better. FM systems can assist you in understanding things from a distance like a speaker in a classroom, a concert, a movie or a play. A personal amplifier is a portable microphone that a teacher or meeting speaker can wear directly on their clothing to help you hear better.
Hearing Aids are Your Best Friend
The most important thing when you’re dealing with hearing loss is your choice of hearing aid. Hearing aids can put you back on even ground with your hearing friends and allow you to live your life to the fullest again. They come in multiple, colors, designs and sizes and they can fit directly in your ear or behind your ear canal. There is no longer a stigma surrounding hearing aids. They are now small and mostly invisible, and the world has caught up with technology hear, many people are wearing a Bluetooth device anyway to listen to their phone, and others understand the need for aid.
Debra Hamila received her master’s degree in audiology from Cleveland State University and her Au.D. from Arizona School of Health Sciences and has been a practicing audiologist for more than 33 years. She has worked in a variety of ENT offices, hospital and clinical settings.