DEALING WITH HEARING LOSS

by Laine Waggoner, MA, MS 

 

This quick guide to hearing loss is based upon my personal experience with using hearing aids for a 45-year progressive hearing loss (now profound). 

QUICK HEARING LOSS FACTS - Every hearing loss is unique !

  •  At least 1 out of 10 people has a hearing loss, about 50% over age 55.

  • 60% of people with hearing loss are between the working ages of 21 to 65.

  • People usually wait an average of 5 to 7 years before seeking help.  

  • 75% of people who could benefit from hearing aids are not using them. Yet, a hearing loss is more noticeable than a hearing aid.

  • Out of every 1,000 school age children have hearing loss.

  • 33 babies are born with hearing loss every day.

HEARING AID FACTS:

  • Aids do not cure or increase hearing loss.

  • Aids will NOT give you back your youthful hearing.

  • Todayís aids can be adjusted in many different ways.

  • Aids do not adequately screen out all troublesome noise.

  • Assistive listening devices can supplement aids in many difficult situations.

  • Radio, TV and video enjoyment is enhanced by using FM or infrared amplifiers and reading the TV closed captions.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU SUSPECT A HEARING LOSS:

 

Consult a physician (or ear specialist: ENT, otologist or otolaryngologist) to rule out possible medical problems such as: compacted ear wax, allergies, tumors, drug interactions or infections.

 

Have your hearing tested by a state licensed audiologist: with at least a masterís degree in Audiology and a Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech and Hearing Association, OR by a state licensed and Board certified hearing instrument specialist. Get a copy of your audiogram. Make sure you understand how it relates to what you can hear AND understand.

 

Get hearing aids, if prescribed:

  • Aids require practice and patience for the best adjustment.

  • Get aids for both ears (if needed) for better speech understanding, especially in noise.

  • Choose an aid that is easy to handle and is suited to your lifestyle, dexterity and budget.

  • Insist on aids with a Tele-coil or T-switch to use with telephones and assistive devices, which help with TV and in noisy situations.

A FEW THINGS YOU CAN DO TO HELP YOURSELF:

  • Learn to be a better listener. Practice, practice.

  • Attend hearing loss support and discussion groups.

  • Practice Lip reading (Speech reading). Take Lip reading classes or purchase videos.

  • Involve your loved ones for greater adjustment success.

  • Be assertive. Tell people tactfully how to communicate with you. 

  • Take care of your health to conserve your energy and reduce your fatigue.


Laine Waggoner is the Director of HEAR (Hearing-loss Education And Relationships), which conducts support groups, facilitates seminars, and provides private coaching for individuals who are experiencing hearing loss.  Email: LaineWaggoner@dc.rr.com


Return to Text Only Hard of Hearing and Deaf Magazine Index

Return to Hard of Hearing and Deaf Magazine Index