Coping with Hearing Loss
Change your mind, improve your life.
Learning to deal with the challenges of hearing loss will require change of some attitude, behaviours and expectations. Hearing loss need not mean that one is cut off from the world of sound and if one wants to hear better, one is likely to benefit (depending on the level of hearing loss) from use of a hearing aid.
Hearing aids can’t restore normal hearing but they can definitely improve your ability to communicate and respond to sound and they are the single-most effective treatment for majority of people with hearing loss.
Getting a hearing aid usually requires a change of mindset and is definitely worth the investment. By wearing hearing aid regularly, one will likely notice improvements in quality of life.
An examination will insure that there are no underlying illnesses or medical problems associated with the hearing loss. Sometimes a hearing loss can be a symptom of a medical condition. In addition, don’t feel pressured into buying a hearing aid. Ask for more information before making your decision.
The cause and severity of hearing loss varies from person to person and an evaluation will help a dispenser or audiologist select and fit you with an appropriate hearing aid.\
When a person has hearing loss in both ears, the hearing healthcare provider will usually recommend two hearing aids. This is because there are many benefits of hearing with two hearing aids. We’ll refer to these benefits as the “binaural advantage”.
The advantages of two hearing aids include:
Better hearing in background noise
Decreased risk of auditory deprivation
A person with two hearing aids will perceive a greater sensation of loudness than a person with one.
Therefore, a person with two hearing aids will not have to wear their hearing aids as loudly to feel they have adequate amplification.
Better hearing in background noise
Understanding speech in the presence of background noise can be difficult, even for individuals with normal hearing. When a person wears two hearing aids, they will be better able to understand speech in settings with a lot of ambient noise better than if they only wore one hearing aid.
Communicating with a Person with Hearing Loss
Trying to understand speech when you have a hearing loss can be difficult at times. However, there are several things that you can do to help your friend or family member with hearing loss understand better during conversations with you.
- Speak more slowly and enunciate
- Talk face to face
- Limit background noise
Improving Sound Quality
- Reduce your rate of speech. Of course, you want to talk naturally, but you also want to speak clearly. Trying to speak clearly will reduce your rate of speech.
- Re-phrase your sentence or question instead of repeating yourself when you are not understood. Some words are easier to hear or lip read than are others.
- Refrain from shouting. Just talk at your natural level. Individuals with hearing loss do not benefit from being shouted to since this may distort your speech. Furthermore, if the individual wears hearing aids, being shouted to may be painful for his or her ears.
Limit Background Noise
- Trying to listen in the presence of background noise, such as in a restaurant or crowd, is usually the most difficult listening situation for individuals with hearing loss. It is difficult to focus on the speech signal when there is competing background noise present.
- When at all possible, try to reduce or eliminate the presence of background noise when trying to have a conversation. For example turn off the television or move into a quieter room to converse.
- Move closer to the speaker so that his or her voice is louder than the background noise.
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