Essential Tips for Managing Hearing Loss: The Do's and Don'ts
Hearing loss is a common condition affecting people of all ages. It can be caused by aging, exposure to loud noises, medications, infections, head injuries, and other factors. No matter the cause, hearing loss impacts daily communication and quality of life. It can lead to social isolation, depression, safety issues, and problems at work. The good news is that hearing loss can often be treated through various devices and therapies. By understanding the signs of hearing loss and following the dos and don'ts, you can take control and minimize its effects.
What Are the Symptoms of Hearing Loss?
Hearing loss can be gradual and not always obvious. However, there are common signs that indicate you should get your hearing evaluated by an audiologist. Being aware of these signs is critical for addressing hearing loss early.
- Difficulty following conversations: You struggle to understand conversations, especially in noisy environments like restaurants where you only pick up pieces.
- Frequently asking for repetition: You often ask others to repeat themselves, even though they think they are speaking loudly.
- Turning up the volume: You need the volume louder on devices like TVs and phones than other people.
- High-pitched voices hard to hear: You have particular trouble understanding women's and children's higher voices.
- Ringing in ears: You experience tinnitus - ringing or buzzing sounds in your ears.
- Speech seems mumbled: You feel like people are mumbling or not enunciating clearly, even though others can understand them.
- Straining to listen: Following conversations requires great effort and concentration.
- Social withdrawal: You withdraw from social situations to avoid frustration with your hearing difficulties.
Being attuned to these common signs of hearing loss allows you to take action by seeing an audiologist for evaluation and treatment. The earlier hearing loss is addressed, the better the outcome.
Don't ignore the signs and hope hearing issues resolve on their own. Being proactive will help you minimize the impacts on your communication, relationships, and daily life. As a first step, consider taking an online hearing test from Vivtone, which can provide initial insights into your hearing abilities and guide you on the next steps.
The Do's If You Have Hearing Loss
While hearing loss poses challenges, there are many positive steps you can take to improve communication:
- Do get professionally fitted hearing aids if your audiologist recommends them. Learn how to properly insert, clean, and maintain them.
- Do utilize assistive listening devices like personal amplifiers, headphones, or TV listeners to hear better in challenging environments.
- Do look into auditory training programs or apps to maximize the use of your remaining hearing abilities. These can help strengthen listening skills.
- Do position yourself strategically in conversations to hear optimally - near the speaker, away from noise sources, and with good lighting on faces.
- Do supplement listening by speechreading - look directly at the speaker's face as much as possible. But don't rely solely on lipreading.
- Do educate close friends and family on helpful communication tactics like facing you, speaking clearly at a moderate pace, rephrasing, and gesturing.
- Do explore hearing loss support groups locally or online. Connecting with others who understand your challenges can provide validation and resources.
- Do utilize hearing aid-compatible features on your TV, phone, and other devices for direct streaming.
By taking a proactive approach, the challenges of hearing loss can be mitigated significantly. From adopting helpful devices and technologies to employing communication strategies and connecting with supportive communities, great resources exist. With the right dos in place, hearing loss does not have to hinder participation in life's meaningful conversations and activities. The possibilities remain open to you.
The Don'ts If You Have Hearing Loss
Once hearing loss is suspected or diagnosed, there are certain actions and behaviors that should be avoided to prevent exacerbating issues. Being aware of these detrimental don'ts allows you to be proactive.
- Don't isolate socially: Isolation can worsen hearing loss over time. Stay engaged in hobbies, activities, and social events you enjoy.
- Don't hide your hearing loss: Tell close friends and family so they can communicate with you better.
- Don't abandon hearing aids: Get irritating hearing aids properly adjusted by your audiologist rather than abandoning them.
- Don't rely solely on lip reading: Only 30-40% of speech sounds are visible, so use lip reading as a supplement, not a substitute.
- Don't just smile and nod: Ask politely for clarification when you don't understand, rather than pretending.
- Don't neglect your hearing health: Get regular checkups and address changes promptly for the best outcome.
Being mindful of these detrimental don'ts allows you to mitigate the impacts of hearing loss. Avoiding isolation, staying vigilant about hearing health, and proactively communicating needs are essential. With the right knowledge and support, hearing loss does not have to be an insurmountable barrier to engagement in life.
Managing hearing loss requires a commitment to an active, engaged lifestyle full of open communication about your needs. By avoiding unhelpful behaviors and implementing proactive strategies, you can reduce the impact hearing loss has on your relationships, activities, and overall well-being. Don't neglect your hearing health. Stay socially connected with loved ones who support you. And most importantly, seek professional help from qualified hearing specialists when required. With the right do's and don'ts, you can confidently overcome many of the obstacles hearing loss presents.