Treating Hearing Loss With Hearing Aids
About 48 million Americans are affected by hearing loss. At 65 years of age, one in every three people is affected by hearing loss. It affects people across all demographics without discrimination. A number of things can cause hearing loss: certain infectious diseases, exposure to excessive noise, chronic ear infections, complications at birth, and ageing. Half of all cases of hearing loss can be avoided through primary prevention. Persons with hearing loss can benefit from cochlear implants, sign language, and hearing aids.
Persons who suffer from hearing loss might not want to seek treatment due to embarrassment. Why don’t people seek treatment for hearing loss?
- Hearing loss means that you will get hearing aids – persons experiencing hearing loss usually equate hearing loss with hearing aids. This makes them hesitant to consult an audiologist. People do not like hearing aids because they are said to make the wearer look old, be expensive, and not work.
- It does not matter – when people say this, they are often exasperated, and tired of hearing others talk about their hearing loss. While such people agree that they are hard of hearing, they usually take it as a normal part of aging.
- They think that their hearing is fine – people with hearing loss might be in denial or they might not realize that they have it. Although it might seem odd not to realize that you have hearing issues, it happens. Hearing loss starts out with distorted sounds. When this happens, the person might start accusing others of speaking too softly or mumbling.
Psychological impact of hearing loss
During their youthful years, people can begin to lose their hearing without any forewarning. Although everyone reacts differently, hearing loss can be devastating for people who suffer from emotional and social problems in life. Hearing loss changes a person’s life on the outside but it also affects the psychological aspect of one’s life in the following ways:
- Confusion – confusion ensues when a person cannot make sense of their physical environment. So much of our daily lives depend on being able to convey sounds to meaning. Losing this sense of hearing omits a person from a bigger realm of understanding. For instance, when crossing the road, a person with hearing loss may miss a vital sign that would warn a hearing person to stay off the road. Auditory signals inform our world, making it easier to live in.
- Loss of self-reliance – people who have lived their whole lives being able to hear and do things for themselves feel at a loss when they stop hearing. This change in circumstance can shock a person to the core, making him doubt himself.
- Isolation – hearing loss leads to loneliness and brings a sense of loss. This isolation may last forever or until a person reestablishes a social balance by finding friends who are hard-of-hearing. If the person undergoing hearing loss is young, he may become more outgoing as he adjusts to his new situation. Hearing loss does not mean that a person should abandon his basic communication skills.
- Loss of identity – isolation may cause a person’s emotional approach to the world to shift. When a person is unable to engage on the same level as his peers, he might start losing his sense of identity. With time, however, the person can learn to live with his condition and regain his sense of identity.
- Checking out – when a person first starts losing his hearing, he may check out of his physical environment. He starts distancing himself from the people with whom he used to interact. Teens usually check out in ways that are more physical. If they find out that an outdoor activity is too hard, they might stop trying altogether, even when it is not too hard.
Addressing the problem by visiting an audiologist is the best course of action. When a person seeks help early enough, their hearing loss might be prevented. Learning to communicate anew can be quite challenging. However, the key lies in not giving up.
Visiting an audiologist
An audiologist is a healthcare professional who specializes in identifying, monitoring, diagnosing, and treating auditory and vestibular parts of the ear. When you visit an audiologist you will undergo a diagnostic audiological evaluation. At that time the audiologist will review your audiogram with you and make recommendations. These recommendations may include a medical evaluation, hearing aids, hearing loss strategies, therapy, assistive devices and more. There are many options available in hearing aids including smart phone technology, cosmetics, automation and cost. Book a consultation with our Doctor of Audiology at ENT Centers of Excellence, Dr. Kim Brown, and get back to living a full life.