What I wish everyone knew about hearing loss

If you don’t live with hearing loss, then it’s hard to understand what someone with hearing loss is going through. It’s  a lot more than not hearing what people say, there are layers of emotional, social and physical effects of hearing loss. So next time you’re around someone you love who is suffering from hearing loss, listen to what they have to say while you still have the chance and the ability. Plus, people who live without the benefits of hearing aids to support their hearing needs could also use someone to trust. Being supportive and aware of what options a loved one with hearing loss has can also help them choose the right path of treatment.

There is a recent blog entry that was written so eloquently on behalf of millions of Americans currently suffering from hearing loss from Living with Hearing Loss by Shari Eberts. There are some things that everyone should know about hearing loss. It will make you a better family member and friend. Or, if you happen to be someone living with a hearing disorder, it’s always nice to know you’re not alone.

Eberts acknowledges that hearing loss can be very tiring and demanding. Hearing when you can’t actually does take work. It’s not an automatic function and the person must turn sounds into a word or phrase that makes sense in the context of the conversation. This is exhausting mentally since a conversation doesn’t usually take a pause for the person to process extra.

Then, there are people who think that a person with hearing loss is rude or maybe even just plain stupid. A person with hearing loss may answer questions incorrectly because they didn’t hear well, or they may have simply misunderstood what you said. Not responding typically means the person just didn’t hear, they probably aren’t actually ignoring you. Be patient and be kind.

Hearing aids work differently than say, glasses. As Eberts explains, hearing aids amplify sounds, but this only makes them louder, not necessarily crisper or clearer. Some hearing aids also have a tough time differentiating among sounds so that background noises like the hum of the refrigerator or the air conditioner may be amplified in addition to the more important sounds of conversation. This can actually make it harder to hear in certain situations! They do not fix hearing loss for every patient either.

Another important thing to remember is that you don’t have to speak for someone with hearing loss. This is a competent adult who doesn’t need an interpreter. If they miss the question or ask for someone to repeat it, you don’t need to do it for them. This can be very humiliating and demeaning for someone who is already going through so much.

Lastly, there are a few simple things that you can do when you’re talking to someone with hearing loss. Face the person and make sure they can read your lips. Don’t try to talk to the person from a different room or location. Be present and be visible. Get the person’s attention before you start the conversation or story, too.

Consider the other person’s feelings first, their pain and their suffering just for a moment. Encourage them to talk to one of our audiologists. We may be able to help them with their hearing loss, but your support will always be the greatest thing for them. To read the full blog, click here http://livingwithhearingloss.com/2016/01/19/five-things-i-wish-everyone-knew-about-hearing-loss/



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