Hearing loss can have a significant impact on the quality of life, so it is essential to learn different ways to help cope with easing the transition.
First, if you feel that you are losing your hearing or have had family members convey hearing-related concerns to you, you must speak to your doctor and seek out professional help to identify/measure hearing loss and recommend treatment options.
Basic Coping Strategies
It can be hard to deal with, and some people either refuse to recognize that it is difficult for them to hear or pretend there is no issue. Older adults take an average of 7 years to seek treatment. If you recognize that you have hearing loss, the following are a few things that help make it easier to communicate with others:
- The best way to handle hearing loss is to let people know you are having difficulty hearing them so they can adjust their behavior to make it easier for you.
- Let your friends and family know that you would like them to face you directly and speak clearly, slowly, and with a reasonable volume.
- If you cannot hear your friends and family, tell then that you don’t understand and to repeat what they have said.
- Be aware of background noise. If you are hoping to have a conversation with someone, choose a location where there is little to no background noise that can interfere with your ability to hear.
- If you get a hearing aid or a hearing amplifier, give yourself time to adjust to it. For most people, it takes weeks for your brain to adjust to using a hearing aid as it has to re-learn how to listen.
People who start to lose their hearing will quickly discover how difficult it becomes emotionally, not just physically. One of the biggest problems is the feeling of isolation that can occur in social situations when it is difficult to hear what is being said. This can lead to feelings of helplessness, depression, anger, or frustration. Don’t bottle up your frustrations, it is best to share what you are going through so your friends and family so they can help with the adjustment. For many, it takes time to grieve the loss of hearing, so be kind and patient with yourself and give yourself time to deal with the loss.
Advice For Family and Friends
If you have someone in your life with hearing loss, there are a few simple suggestions to help make communicating with them smoother:
- Include them in group conversations. It can be very isolating when you aren’t fully able to hear what is being said in a group. Make an effort to include everyone.
- Look for quiet places to have conversations
- Be careful about what restaurants and public places you choose. Most people don’t realize just how noisy certain locations are until trying to have a one on one conversation.
- Speak clearly and face the person you are speaking with. Remember not to speak from the side/sides of the hearing loss.
- Speak with adequate volume so you can be heard.
- Ensure your mouth can be seen when you are speaking.
- Repeat what you have said if the person has not heard it the first time
- Be patient
- Turn down background noise
- Say their name before you start talking.