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Hearing loss affects everyone differently because we all have unique personalities. When it comes to ways to adapt to hearing loss, everyone needs to find their comfort zone. There’s no way of telling how you will react to the news that your hearing is gradually deteriorating or impaired due to an injury.
When my oldest son learned he was losing his hearing, the first thing that the Doctor prescribed was someone who would teach him how to adapt to hearing loss. It was similar to physical therapy but would help teach him how to read cues and communicate better with others. It was a learning experience for not just my son, but for us as well.
However, most people find that after the initial shock, not all that much will change. Modern technology is allowing people with hearing loss to lead fully independent lives. Once upon a time, you needed to let people know that you have hearing loss, so they could adapt to it when having a conversation with you.
3 Incredible Ways To Adapt to Hearing Loss
Now though, you need not spill the beans to anyone. The greatest challenge isn’t learning about technology, but learning how to adapt to hearing loss. Not many people know what to expect but it's not worlds apart from how you used to live.
Scared of the surroundings?
It's common for people who are learning to adapt to hearing loss, to become a recluse. You just don’t want to go outside anymore and especially not on your own. This is because it's not just being unable to fully decipher what kinds of noises you’re hearing but where they are coming from. All of a sudden, our 360-degree field of hearing is narrowed.
Hearing aids cannot pick up sounds that are directly behind us, all the time. This can make daily life feel very frightening. For instance, you won’t feel comfortable crossing the road, driving to work, or being in crowded busy areas like metro stations.
However, you will soon be able to adapt to hearing loss and you'll start using your eyes more as cues for space, distance, proximity, and size of objects and people around you. As you move your head around, you’re also pointing your hearing aids in the blindspot directions. It will become a habit and you won’t even have to think about it. Be patient with yourself, take things slow, and absorb what you hear more tactfully.
Family life and pets
Children learn quickly and they can make adjustments to almost any situation, even learning how to adapt to hearing loss. It's not a given that children will understand why you are wearing hearing aids but that shouldn't deter you from attempting to explain to them.
Sitting your children down for a chat about your hearing loss is one of the first things you need to do. Tell them that they may need to speak a little louder and slower, so you can clearly hear what they are saying. Remind them not to be obnoxious such as when you go shopping with them, shouting shouldn’t be allowed in public. Ask them to tap you on the shoulder or arm to get your attention if you don’t immediately respond to them.
As for your pets, this is somewhat more complicated. You’ll need to warn your pets to not eat your hearing aids if they see them on the table, chair, or on the floor. You can use repellent sprays on the hearing aids that will turn dogs and cats away. After a week or so, they should become accustomed to the sight of them and lose interest. You will need to pay more visual attention to your pets to see what they’re up to.
Get used to the feel
Having something in your ear for most of the day will take some getting used to. Adapting to wearing hearing aids is easier than you think. Wear them for an hour or so for a few days, then gradually increase the hours per day until you can tolerate an 8 or 10-hour period with them. Be mindful to stay in less noisy areas at first, so you can fine-tune the sensitivity levels.
Reading aloud to yourself will get you used to how your own voice sounds. The vibration that normally happens in our heads will need to travel into the hearing aids for you to listen and recognize your tone.
It's easy to feel annoyed by the feel of the hearing aids and you will at times, want to pull them out and throw them across the room. However, with proper hearing aids that have been molded to the shape of your ears, this should be relatively rare. Modern flexible materials will also handle sweat and debris much better as well. Some hearing aids fit and feel so good, it's easy to forget you have them in before going to bed.
The loss of your hearing is not the end of your life, merely a new chapter. Please be patient with yourself. Your brain will take time to adapt to the new sensations in your ear and slightly different sounds. Start off by reading to yourself so you get used to the tone of your own voice.