Change isn’t always easy to accept, and experiencing changes in your hearing can be an isolating thing. However, it is important to deal with this change head on, as treating hearing loss brings significant benefits. At Fidelity Hearing Center, we’re here to support you on this journey and can help you learn about your hearing treatment options.
The average American experiencing hearing loss, in spite of the huge advancements in hearing aids, still waits an average of five to seven years to get treatment. Here, we gather advice from therapists to help people face the issue of hearing loss.
Don’t Ignore Your Feelings
You may feel helpless, depressed, angry and frustrated. Many feel surprised by these emotions, according to Dr. Angela Nelson, an audiologist. “Hearing loss is a loss like any other in our lives,” she said, “It’s a death of a part of an individual (and you have) to move through the grief process.”
You might want to talk to friends and family to help you work through the process. You may need to talk to a therapist. Ear, Nose and Throat specialist Dr. Aaron Moberly says a having a support system is crucial. When adults with hearing loss get hearing aids, they also need plenty of support and social practice time to get used to hearing through their devices, he adds.
Some Communication Tips
Living with someone with hearing loss also takes some getting used to, doctors say. You can encourage them to get hearing help, but they may still wait. At Fidelity Hearing Centers, we encourage you to offer to come with a loved one for a hearing evaluation and sit in if it gets them to the office sooner!
When faced with hearing loss, according to Moberly, “People often become isolated because social situations are so much more difficult.” If you’re the parent or spouse of someone with hearing issues, these are some of the things you can do:
*Turn down the background noises, like the TV, radio or dishwasher. We automatically “tune-out” those noises but if you are hearing impaired, it’s a struggle to focus with extraneous noise around you.
*Say their name before you begin talking to them. This helps shift the focus to what is being said.
*Speak slowly and clearly – not loudly. Raising your voice can distort how you sound.
*Face the person you are speaking to so they can see your face and your gestures. We give off plenty of verbal and facial cues when we are talking and a person with hearing loss finds it helpful to observe the cues.
*It is helpful to talk in an area that is well lighted, relatively quiet and has few distractions.
Know Your Options
Getting a hearing evaluation and finding out the extent of your hearing loss is a great start. At Fidelity Hearing Centers we evaluate both ears and discuss your options. There are dozens of great hearing aids on the market with all sorts of helpful features. We discuss your expectations and walk you through the technology. In addition, there’s lots of great helpful information on the hearing aid manufacturers websites, many have 24-hour helplines, there are videos on line about adjusting your hearing aids and many can also be adjusted remotely.
We make sure you have realistic ideas of what will happen once you get your hearing aids. Some people adjust immediately, others experience a sort of learning curve while the brain adjusts to the sound coming through the hearing aids. You can practice with your friends and family before you venture out into a social setting. Many people find reading out loud helps you re-adjust to the sound. Some people find listening to the television with the radio on helps you start to separate out the different layers of sound.
Hearing Treatment with Fidelity Hearing Centers
Don’t wait seven years while your hearing deteriorates and you miss out on the voices of your grandchildren, music, the whispers of a loved one or the sounds of the birds in the morning. Untreated hearing loss has been linked to depression, anxiety, hypertension and the early onset of dementia. It poses a significant physical as well as mental risk. Treating hearing loss brings significant benefits – and the sooner you reach out to us, the sooner we can help you get back to living your best life!