Why Treat A Hearing Loss?
On average, people wait 7-10 years after becoming aware of their hearing loss to do something about it. Considering the detrimental effect hearing loss has on quality of life, this far too long to wait. If hearing problems are diagnosed early, appropriate support and treatment can be provided, but common misconceptions often stop people from going to see an audiologist when they first notice their hearing has deteriorated.
For example, some people think that there is nothing that can be done for their hearing loss, when in fact nearly all people with hearing loss can make strides with hearing aids thanks to technological advances. Or they may be embarrassed about wearing hearing aids, without realising how discreet today’s hearings aids are.
With these myths put to rest, read below to learn about the benefits of early treatment for hearing loss.
If you have hearing loss, you may find your spouse or other family members get annoyed at you for watching television at a high volume, or they get upset that you are ignoring things they say, when really you just can’t hear them. This can lead to strain on your relationships, especially if you deny you have hearing loss or refuse to seek help.
Also, communication is key to helping you deepen your relationship with others, strengthen your identity and improve teamwork, decision making, and problem solving. Hearing loss inhibits your ability to communicate effectively, which can lead to loneliness and social isolation.
TIPS FOR BETTER COMMUNICATION
The following tips may be useful for aiding and facilitating communication on a daily basis.
Tips for a hearing impaired person communicating with a hearing person:
- Face others when they are speaking – visual clues such as facial expressions, body language and lip movement will help you to interpret speech.
- Inform the person you are speaking to that you have hearing loss – don’t hide your limited hearing ability from other people. Instead, let them know how best to talk to you.
- Repeat back what you have heard – this will help to make sure you’re on track with the conversation and will provide feedback to the speaker that you have understood what they have said.
- Reduce the level of noise in the room – turn off the TV, radio and shut doors to help you hear the speaker more clearly.
Tips for a hearing person communicating with a hearing impaired person
- Ensure you have the person’s attention before you begin speaking – give the listener a chance to focus their attention and reduce the chance of missing words at the beginning of the conversation.
- Face the person directly and maintain eye contact – position yourself where you can be seen and ensure there is adequate lighting on your face. This helps the listener to lipread and to read your facial expressions and body language.
- Do not obscure your face with your hands or chew gum – this will make lipreading very difficult and muffle any sound you’re making.
- Do not shout or gesture – shouting can make it even more difficult for the hearing impaired person to lipread or understand you. Excessive hand movements can also distract a hearing impaired person from lipreading.
- Be patient – pause every now and then and repeat things if necessary. If the hearing impaired person does not understand after you have repeated yourself, try to rephrase your sentence.
- Make sure your expectations are reasonable – do not assume the listener can hear correctly because they are wearing hearing aids. Hearing aids alone may not let a person with hearing loss to communicate successfully in all listening situations.