Hearing loss is an extremely common problem and affects millions of people throughout the United States. Although it is most common in the elderly population, typically the over 60’s, it can affect anyone of any age, especially if they have been exposed to loud noises or have experienced an illness or medical condition that has affected their inner ear. In most people, hearing loss is a gradual process, which gives them time to adjust their lives and to make alterations but for others, it can be more rapid.
When my oldest son was about 6 years old, we learned that he had significant hearing loss. For the first almost 6 years of his life, I thought he was hearing perfectly fine and just being a “typical boy” I never realized that the reason why he wasn't doing what I asked, was because of the loss of hearing.
Whether you have been experiencing hearing loss for many years without realizing it, or have suddenly found yourself hard of hearing, here are 5 tips that may help you to cope.
Come to terms with it
Even if you have been unknowingly experiencing hearing loss for some time, hearing the diagnosis from a specialist can be shocking. It’s perfectly normal to feel scared or a sense of denial at first, but in order to move forward, it’s important that you come to terms with your diagnosis. Some people find therapy can help them to come to terms with their hearing loss, whereas others find reading up on the subject to be comforting.
Whatever you need to do to come to terms with your diagnosis, it’s important that you do it.
Make adjustments around the home
If you’ve been living with hearing loss for some time, then you may have already made some subconscious readjustments around your home, such as turning up the TV or re-arranging furniture, but there’s always room for improvement. Try installing a doorbell that gives a visual clue as well as an audible clue when someone is at the door.
You may also want to look into getting a new mobile or house phone with an amplified ringer or installing visual flashing cues in rooms where you tend not to hear the phone. There are lots of devices out there designed to make life easier for the hard of hearing, so never suffer in silence.
Get hearing aids
New hearing aids can make a huge difference in your life and there are no many different styles to choose from. Gone are the days of bulky and uncomfortable hearing aids, now you can get discrete aids that sit entirely in your inner ear, and some even come with rechargeable batteries.
Thanks to the advancement of technology, your hearing aids can even pair up with things like your TV, telephone, and doorbell, to help you with simple things around the house, and when you’re out and about, your hearing aids may also be able to automatically adjust to changes in background noise and sound levels to ensure that you always hear clearly, even in a crowd.
Let others know
Although it can be tempting to hide your hearing impairment, it’s important that you let others know that you have hearing loss so that they can make adjustments to help you if necessary. If you are eating out at a restaurant, let the server know about your hearing loss so that they can seat you at a quieter table and so that they take a little extra time to make sure that they get your order right.
Cinemas, concerts, and events also now often have specialist hearing aid channels that hearing aid users can tune into to get a clearer sound. Remember that hearing loss is very common and most establishments will go out of their way to help you have the same experience as everyone else.
Become a part of a community
Finally, if you’re struggling with your diagnosis or are feeling alone, then consider becoming a part of the hearing loss community. There are now hundreds of online hearing loss forums and communities, set up and designed to provide support guidance and comfort to those in need.
Speaking with other people who have hearing loss, and finding out the tips and tricks that they have learned along the way, may help you to make adjustments in your own life and you may make some lifelong friends along the way too.
Remember that although hearing loss is so common, that doesn’t change the fact that it can cause a significant impact on people's lives. If you are feeling depressed or hopeless as a result of your hearing loss diagnosis, then always reach out to a counselor or your GP for additional help. He or she may be able to provide you with medical assistance for your depression and will also be able to refer you to someone who can help you to process your emotions.