Hearing Loss

Simple Tips to Make Life Easier For Those With Hearing Loss

It’s very likely that you have someone in your life who struggles with hearing loss. Although your friend or loved one might only experience it to a small degree, the reality is that about 50 million Americans have debilitating hearing loss. Although it may not seem like a challenge, hearing loss can affect nearly all areas of your life – and your loved one can struggle because of it. Here are some ways you can help lessen the impact of hearing loss and make sure your loved one is set up to succeed.

Communicate Effectively

When you have hearing loss, it can be difficult to keep up during conversations. It can also be difficult to tell when someone is trying to talk to you, either in a social situation or from another room. Make sure to get your friend’s attention before speaking so that they can see your face and lips to get the gist of what you’re saying. This means avoiding shouting from another room or covering up your mouth while talking. Avoid raising your voice when speaking in the hopes they can hear you better – this can make it harder to understand what you’re trying to communicate. And if you’re in a group situation, avoid talking over each other and make sure that your friend is included and kept up-to-pace with the conversation.

Manage the Environment

Certain environments can pose extra challenges to people with hearing loss. Places with steady and excessive background noise can take away from their ability to hear the conversation, and dimly-lit environments can make it hard for them to lipread. This can mean you may need to change your plans to avoid busy restaurants or venues in favor of more private settings. If you do go out, let your loved one select a seat where they can hear more effectively, and make sure to accommodate their wishes for everyone’s seating arrangements.

Understand the Impact

Hearing loss can affect more than just their social enjoyment – your friend or loved one can often experience what’s called hearing fatigue. This often happens after extended periods of concentrated listening, like in group situations or environments where it’s difficult to keep up with the conversation. It occurs because the brain works extra hard to decipher conversations and keep up with the context. If your friend or loved one can’t socialize for long periods of time, make sure to understand that it can be physically and mentally exhausting for them. Try to accommodate them taking a break in another room for a while, or keep events on the shorter side so they don’t feel bad about leaving early.

Don’t Be Dismissive

It’s natural to be frustrated sometimes when interacting with someone with hearing loss. Rest assured that it’s even more frustrating for your friend. Although it can be tedious, always make sure to try and communicate calmly and patiently rather than giving up on repeating yourself or dismissing their requests with a “never mind.” If you need to repeat yourself multiple times, try rephrasing what you’ve said, use gestures or other methods of communication, or ask your friend what they’ve already heard so you can help them understand the rest of your meaning. Showing visible frustration can cause your friend or loved one even more distress at what’s already a very difficult and isolating situation.

Encourage Treatment

If your friend or loved one hasn’t already partnered with a Doctor of Audiology, it’s extremely important that they do so. The most effective way to treat hearing loss is with hearing aid technologies, and it can be very daunting to take this important step. One of the best ways you can support your loved one is by encouraging them to seek treatment – not because you’re tired of accommodating their hearing loss, but because you want them to enjoy a healthy and socially active lifestyle. The fact is, hearing aids can help restore some of their social mobility and feelings of isolation, drastically improving mental health. Gentle encouragement that they begin by exploring their options for hearing aids can go a long way!

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Hearing Aids

10 Reasons Why Hearing Aids Are Not Like Glasses

There are many misconceptions about hearing aids. Oftentimes, people do not understand how they work or what they do. This can lead to frustration or shame for the person who requires the help of hearing aids. Many think that hearing aids can simply be compared to the function of glasses, but this is not the case. Below is a list of 10 reasons why hearing aids are not like glasses.

  1. Unlike glasses that give you near perfect vision, hearing aids do not give you perfect hearing. Instead, they amplify all sounds, even the ones you may not want to hear.
  1. Adjusting to wearing new glasses takes hardly any time at all. When it comes to getting hearing aids, it can take more time to get used to the way they work. Since they amplify all sounds, it might be frustrating or confusing for a while. Eventually, your brain will adjust to all the new sounds. Higher quality hearing aids will compress those background noises better, but it will still require time to adjust.
  1. Hearing aids require batteries to function. Obviously, glasses do not need anything besides the frame and lenses to help you see. The batteries on hearing aids need to be replaced every so often in order to work.
  1. Since hearing aids are an electrical device, they can never get wet.
  1. Glasses can be seen as a fashion accessory, and come in a wide variety of styles. Hearing aids are only there to serve a function and are even designed to hardly be noticeable.
  1. There is still some stigma around wearing hearing aids. Glasses have become a widely accepted necessity, but people don’t always react the same way to someone who needs help hearing.
  1. Unfortunately, most hearing aids are not regularly covered by your insurance provider. This makes them far more expensive and difficult to replace or even purchase, and because of this some people may not even be able to afford them. Glasses are usually covered by insurance and are often cheaper than hearing aids in general.
  1. Hearing aids are small, making them easy to lose or misplace.
  1. Since hearing aids amplify all sound, they can also increase your sensitivity to loud sounds. Comparatively, glasses never increase your sensitivity to light or certain images.
  1. Sometimes, hearing aids can let out a sharp sound. This can be uncomfortable and inconvenient, disrupting your day to day life. The biggest inconvenience glasses can really cause are getting dirty. But all you have to do is wipe them off to quickly fix that problem.

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