Did You Know?
Hearing loss is the third most common public health issue, following arthritis and heart disease.
Those who assume hearing loss to be an age-related condition would be surprised to know that it actually affects people of all ages. Gradual hearing loss, in particular, is known to affect people of all ages, in varying degrees. What confounds the situation further is the fact that gradual hearing loss is not tangible enough to be noticed in its initial stages. It is only at a later stage that it begins to get evident, adding to the patient's frustration over time.
There are several factors that cause loss of hearing in humans. Certain individuals may be born with the condition (congenital), whereas it could be noise-induced in others. In some cases, when older people exhibit signs of hearing loss, like aloofness or confusion, they may be misinterpreted as symptoms of dementia.
Understanding hearing loss and its symptoms is therefore a necessity in our world today. The signs of hearing loss are often misconstrued as ignorance, or worse, even arrogance. Those suffering from this condition need all the support from the people around them. Those seeing their loved ones suffer from the condition may need help coming to terms with it. Keeping these specific needs in mind, we have compiled a few tips which will prove helpful.
Coming to Terms With Hearing Loss
Acknowledge Your Condition
The very first step in the right direction involves acknowledging the fact that you suffer from the condition. As hard as it may be, accepting your problem will nudge you forward into looking for a solution to it. Going into the denial mode can only result in delayed treatment, worsening your situation. It is easier said than done, but the sooner you accept the condition, the quicker will you cope with it.
Seek Appropriate Treatment
These days, treatments for hearing loss are not limited to hearing aids. Seek the counsel of a certified hearing professional, who will be able to guide you about purchasing appropriate and well-fitted hearing aids. The point to be considered here is that hearing aids do not correct the ailment, they only help in improving the quality of hearing. Thus, they help you adjust to the condition, and come to your aid during social interactions.
Know Your Options
Besides hearing aids, your doctor may provide other options only after a complete evaluation of your condition. As an example, cochlear implants are devices that are surgically placed in the inner ear to directly stimulate the auditory nerve. They may be used to improve hearing in severe or profound cases. Your doctor, having evaluated your case, will suggest the appropriate device to aid hearing.
Tips to Ease Communication With Others
Loss of hearing, unfortunately, is a condition that cannot be recognized by others, unless you choose to inform them about it. Therefore, it is up to you to direct others regarding the best way to communicate with you. Here are a few suggestions -
- Explain to them the best way to communicate with you.
- Ensure that your surroundings are well-lit and quiet, as far as possible.
- Pay close attention to what the speaker is saying.
- Notice the speaker's body language and facial expressions for better understanding.
- Ask for written clues if you have trouble deciphering the talk.
- Be proactive while listening, and admit it if you could not understand anything.
- Accept if you are feeling tired or unable to concentrate for some reason, and request to communicate later.
- Thank the speaker at the conclusion of the conversation.
Helping a Loved One Come to Terms With Hearing Loss
As a parent, it can be devastating to learn about your child's hearing impairment. Likewise, to know of any family member or friend suffering from this condition can take a toll on the emotions. It is important to deal with your feelings in this case - they may range from anger, to despair, to quiet acceptance, a long journey to cover. But cope with it you must, in order to lend a shoulder of support to your loved one who needs it more.
Acquaint yourself with the ways to deal with hearing loss. Clarify your doubts with the doctor, and understand how you can be of assistance to your loved one.
Tips to Communicate With a Hearing-impaired Individual
Often, we make the mistake of raising our voice when we communicate with someone with impaired hearing. Not only is it futile, but it is also unnecessary. Instead, here are some things you can do to help -
- Ensure that you have the attention of the person before you begin speaking.
- Ask how you can communicate better.
- At all times, face the person while you speak.
- Ensure that your face is clearly visible. Eliminate any source of backlight, if possible.
- There is no need to be loud. Speak clearly instead.
- Speak at a moderate and even pace.
- Compliment your talk with corresponding facial expressions and gestures.
- Do not hide your mouth while speaking.
- Slowly repeat or rephrase your sentence in case it is not understood, or misunderstood.
- Be patient.