Many people today suffer from hearing loss. Some people don’t realize they have this problem. Others do, but don’t see a doctor for help. Every person should see an audiologist if they suspect they are losing their hearing. Quick action can help to reduce the risk of additional hearing loss and allow them to hear clearly once again. What can a person do to reduce their risk of this common problem? How can they manage any hearing loss that has already occurred?
Have Regular Hearing Checkups
Many people don’t realize their hearing is failing until the problem has progressed significantly. This issue comes on gradually, which makes it hard to know how bad it is getting. Sadly, hearing loss is easier to treat in the early stages.
Having regular hearing checkups is essential to catching minor issues before they escalate. The doctor can then come up with a plan to slow or halt the hearing loss. This improves the person’s quality of life. If you are dealing with hearing loss, regardless of how mild it may seem, make an appointment for a hearing checkup today.
Speak with Family and Friends
To reduce the risk of misunderstandings with family and friends, let them know about the hearing loss. When they realize there is an issue, they can make adaptions when speaking to the person with hearing loss. This may involve them talking louder or moving to the person’s good side if hearing is better in one ear than the other.
When it is time to have a conversation, move to a quiet place. This helps improve communication, as there are fewer distractions to interfere with clear hearing. The other person may also use nonverbal cues to make it easier for the person with hearing loss to understand them.
Ask that others speak clearly to avoid misunderstandings. Furthermore, avoid situations where others might consider the person with hearing loss rude. Sadly, this happens more than people would like. Explain the situation. If they cannot be more forgiving, then it is time to go elsewhere, as many people are gracious in this situation.
Don’t Be Embarrassed
Many people today struggle with hearing loss. According to the National Institutes of Health, 13 percent of Americans over the age of 12 have hearing loss in both ears. By the age of 55, 8.5 percent of adults have disabling hearing loss. This problem remains more common in men than women, and non-Hispanic white adults are most at risk of hearing loss.
This problem becomes more common as a person ages. However, every person should have their hearing checked regularly to ensure problems aren’t developing. Treatment options continue to expand, so most people find they can improve their hearing with the help of a medical professional.
Hearing Aid Options
Hearing aid technology continues to improve. A person will find they have more options today, and different features are offered for various situations. A person with hearing loss should work with their doctor to find which option best fits their lifestyle.
For instance, a person who is on the phone all day at work may benefit from one type of hearing aid. A person who spends a great deal of time in crowded areas, however, will need a device that filters out background noise. An audiologist will be of great help in finding the right device for each person’s needs.
Hearing Aid Maintenance
Hearing aids must be maintained regularly to ensure they work properly. They need routine cleanings, and the wax guards must be changed. Many hearing aids today are rechargeable, and a person must remember to charge them regularly. If the device runs off batteries, always have an extra supply of batteries on hand.
Always store the hearing aids according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Keep a drying device available to prevent moisture damage, as well. Regular visits to the audiologist are needed to ensure the hearing aids work as they should. The audiologist can make repairs or changes when needed. In addition, these regular visits allow patients to learn about the latest technology and whether it would benefit them.
Give Yourself Grace
Hearing loss is hard to deal with. People become accustomed to being able to hear and it’s frustrating when they no longer can. A person needs to give themselves grace in this situation. It takes time to adjust to new hearing aids, so don’t become irritated and give up. Over time, it becomes easier to find the right settings and hear clearly once again.
Work with the audiologist to find the right settings. They differ for each person, so very few individuals find their hearing aids work perfectly from the start. Keep this in mind and don’t give up. Once these settings are found, it will be easy to hear clearly again, which is what every person wants.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Countless individuals don’t realize that what they eat is of great importance to how well they hear. However, zinc, potassium, and other vitamins and minerals are of help in protecting the hearing. For those already dealing with this issue, the same vitamins and minerals can slow the progression. Men and women who eat a lot of sugary foods or those high in fat are more at risk of hearing loss that progresses quickly.
In fact, Brigham and Women’s Hospital conducted a study to determine what role diet plays in a person’s hearing loss. They found that an overall healthy diet could reduce a person’s risk of hearing loss by 30 percent. Those participants in the study who followed the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) or Alternate Mediterranean diet (AMED) had a lower risk of hearing loss when compared with study participants who ate diets extremely different from these plans.
Hearing loss is a problem many people will deal with in their lifetime. Fortunately, there are treatments available for most individuals who struggle with a loss of hearing. Lifestyle changes also benefit these men and women. Make an appointment with an audiologist today to have the hearing tested. Early action is always best when treating this common condition, so this is one appointment no person should put off.
Published by HOLR Magazine.