Treating Hearing Loss Helps You Stay Socially Connected 

Hearing loss is the third most common health condition older adults experience. This public health epidemic impacts over 30 million people who have impaired hearing in one or both ears. Because hearing loss often happens gradually over time, it is often overlooked and undertreated. This means that there are millions of people who are currently dealing with untreated impaired hearing. Hearing loss can make communication challenging which impacts relationships, job performance, and overall health. Strained communication can especially affect engaging with others causing people to withdraw from social activity. However, by effectively treating hearing loss, communication can considerably improve, allowing people to navigate social environments with greater ease!

Impact of Hearing Loss

Hearing loss can be caused by a variety of factors including environmental exposure to loud noise, existing medical conditions, and genetic history; effecting the auditory system and the way we hear. This results in a reduced ability to hear and process sound which can have a profound impact on one’s life. Hearing loss can lead to:

 

  • Strained Communication: having conversations with others can become difficult when hearing is restricted (especially in environments with background noise). Sounds can seem muffled so hearing distinct words can be tough. People with hearing loss may rely on others to speak loudly, repeat themselves, moving to quieter areas to have conversations, needing others to speak slowly, reading mouths etc. Because conversations can be difficult to follow entirely, there can be greater miscommunication and gaps of information. This impacts the quality of a conversation and requires people to expend more energy which can be tasking and create an unpleasant interaction. 
  • Social Withdrawal: The work of having a conversation can outweigh the pleasure of spending time with others. It is common to feel stress and anxiety which can lead to an avoidance of social settings, gatherings, activities etc. This kind of isolation results in spending less time with family and friends which creates distance and tension. Withdrawing from your community and support system strains relationships.

 

Strained communication and social withdrawal can significantly impact one’s overall health. Being less connected to others can take a toll on emotional and mental health. Withdrawing from social environments and quality time with others contributes to stress, loneliness, depression etc. If untreated, hearing loss can worsen and these symptoms will persist which makes moving through daily life more difficult than it needs to be. If you have noticed any changes to your hearing, it is critical to have your hearing tested. Early detection of hearing loss is incredibly beneficial and can help you transition to better hearing more easily.

Benefits of Treatment 

Addressing hearing loss can alleviate symptoms and drastically improve the quality of your life. Treatment begins with assessing your hearing by a hearing healthcare specialist. Hearing tests are an easy and noninvasive way to determine any impairment, degree, and type of hearing loss. The most common treatment for hearing loss is hearing aids which feature various technologies that increases one’s ability to hear and supports social connection by:

 

  • Enhancing Communication: hearing aids are innovative electronic devices that are designed to absorb, amplify, and process sound; allowing a person to hear much better in various environments. This alleviates the pressure, anxiety, and stress of constantly trying to hear. With hearing aids people can hear and respond without consistently asking others to speak loudly and/or quietly. This allows people to engage in conversation smoothly which significantly improves communication. 
  • Boost Confidence: hearing aids support people acclimating seamlessly in the environment they are in without having to rely on others. This device alleviates the often-exhausting burden of constantly compensating for hearing loss. Being able to easily hear can provide more energy in addition to boosting one’s confidence and sense of independence. This supports people participating fully (in conversations, social activities, meetings etc.) and with greater presence.

 

Treating hearing loss and being able to communicate effectively allows people to stay socially connected. Social connection is critical to living balanced, healthy, and joyous lives. Our relationships with family and friends, hobbies, and spending time with others sustains happiness. This contributes greatly to overall well-being and the longevity, abundance, and quality of one’s life!

Communication at Work – May is Better Hearing and Speech Month!

Hearing loss is a common condition that millions of people experience. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, nearly one in eight people have some degree of hearing loss in one or both ears; making hearing loss a public health epidemic. This can drastically impact how a person navigates their personal and professional life on a daily basis. Impaired hearing reduces one’s ability to hear which makes communication, essential to how we live our lives, difficult. Strained communication can be eased by addressing hearing loss and practicing a few helpful tips!

Impact on Hearing

Hearing loss restricts the speech and sound a person can absorb, hear, and process. This results in various challenges to communication and engaging in conversations. People with hearing loss often experience:

– Difficulty hearing distinct words and following entire conversation as sounds seem muffled

– Frequently asking others to speak loudly and/or slowly

– Moving to quieter areas to have conversation

– Reading mouths to make out individual words

– Needing others to repeat what they have said

These symptoms of hearing loss require extra effort and energy to hear and participate in conversations. In addition to miscommunication or misinformation, this can cause stress and exhaustion. Conversations can feel like too much work and be an unpleasant experience for everyone involved.

To alleviate these symptoms and to improve communication, it is critical to address hearing loss! Fortunately, there are effective ways to treat impaired hearing which begins by having your hearing assessed. This involves a simple, non-invasive process with a hearing healthcare professional that determines the degree and type of impairment. Hearing loss is most commonly treated with hearing aids which are small electronic devices that help collect, amplify, and process sound. Hearing aids increase one’s ability to hear which can be life changing!

Tips 

In addition to wearing hearing aids, there are several useful tips that can help enhance communication at work including the following:

Learn About Your Hearing Loss 

Using the vast resources and information that are widely available to educate yourself about your hearing loss can help guide you through the process of acclimating to life with impaired hearing. It is important to learn the specifics of your hearing loss, this includes knowing what your hearing needs are, what types of sounds are more difficult to hear, the types of environments that overwork your hearing etc. This information allows you to know what is both helpful and harmful for your hearing health.

Communicate Hearing Loss

Sharing your hearing loss with the people you work with can really help with facilitating more effective communication. Being upfront and letting others know how they can best support you by discussing specific communication strategies (facing you while speaking, being at a comfortable distance, rephrasing rather than rewording when you are struggling etc.) can make communication smoother and prevent miscommunication and frustration.

Identify Workplace Accommodations  

In addition to sharing your hearing loss with coworkers, notifying your employer(s) (supervisor, human resources) can be useful as well. Having a discussion about the accommodations your employer can provide is extremely important. Take some time beforehand to research and learn about the types of accommodations that are possible in the workplace so you know what to advocate for! This includes physical adjustments (moving your work area, creating barriers between you and sources of loud noise etc.), phones that are compatible with your hearing aid, assistive listening devices etc.

Plan for Hearing Needs

Being mindful and planning for your hearing needs in the various work contexts you find yourself in can help you navigate the workplace effectively. This could mean asking for the agenda prior to meetings, keeping extra batteries for hearing aids at work, asking for any accommodations for training in advance etc.

There are countless ways people experience hearing loss and the impact it has on one’s life is unique to that individual. Taking the time to learn all that you can about your hearing loss and advocating for your needs is so beneficial. It can lead to effective communication, your overall success in the workplace, in addition to maintaining your hearing health!

Acupuncture for Hearing Loss & Tinnitus: Does it Really Work?

Have you ever had acupuncture treatment? If you have, you might vividly recall your first treatment. Acupuncture is a treatment that is commonly used as a part of the larger medical system of Traditional Chinese Medicine, or TCM. Walking into a calm and comfortable room with low lighting and often the smell of herbs or aromatherapy, the patient is asked to lie on a table that looks like a massage table. In this comfortable position, the practitioner inserts very tiny needles into the body in precise locations. With these needles in place, the person is asked to relax for a duration of time, allowing the treatment to take effect. After time has elapsed, the practitioner removes the needles one by one, and the person is asked to slowly sit up. The treatment can cause a feeling of slight dizziness or head rush, so the process of returning to regular life needs to be slow and careful. This remarkable treatment has been used for a wide range of conditions ranging from mental maladies to serious physical diseases or recovery from injuries. Some of the many conditions subjected to acupuncture therapy have to do with hearing, as well. Hearing loss, tinnitus, and Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss (or SSHL) have all been treated by acupuncture with varying results. First, let’s take a look at how acupuncture is said to work, in general. Then, let’s consider the effects of acupuncture on these hearing-related conditions, including the research that is available to test its effectiveness.

 

How Does Acupuncture Work?

Acupuncture is part of a holistic approach to medical intervention, and it is seldom practiced in isolation of other therapies. Crucial to the expertise behind acupuncture is that the mind does not exist in isolation of the body, nor vice versa, so any medical intervention should consider the connections between them. When the tiny needles are inserted into the body at precise points, they are thought to stimulate a nervous system response. When the nervous system is stimulated by a prick, it can cause a chain reaction of releasing chemicals into the muscles, brain, and spinal cord. The effect is not localized, either. Putting these tiny needles into the body in one location can have an effect elsewhere in the body, because the nervous system is the pathway through which information is passed. These chemicals and hormones can cause healing in ways that are only starting to be understood by Western medicine.

 

What about Acupuncture and Hearing-related Conditions?

Although acupuncture has been remarkably effective as a treatment for a wide range of physical and mental maladies, the jury is still out when it comes to hearing-related conditions. Each type of hearing loss has a different relation with acupuncture. Some reports of effectiveness date back to 1940 when a report claimed that acupuncture was able to cure total deafness! Since that time the reports regarding hearing loss have been inconclusive. Anecdotal reports abound, but controlled scientific studies have been limited. In addition, many of the cases used acupuncture in conjunction with herbal treatments and other drug therapy, so it is difficult to understand if the results are due to acupuncture or other features of treatment.

Results have been more promising when it comes to two other hearing-related conditions: tinnitus and Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss (or SSHL). In each case, reports have been promising, and some clinical trials have taken place. Those with tinnitus found a reduction in the volume of background noise that had been plaguing them, and the overall feeling of wellbeing was improved, as well. Similarly, SSHL patients responded quite well to acupuncture. This condition itself is very mysterious, as there is no clear medical or injurious cause of the hearing loss. Those with SSHL find that they wake up with hearing loss or total deafness, or it may come after a sudden “pop” out of nowhere. The loss tends to be in one ear, and doctors are still trying to understand how it comes about. Despite the mystery surrounding SSHL, acupuncture has been remarkably effective, in some cases healing the condition altogether and in others bringing back some hearing ability. Of course, in all these cases further research is necessary to precisely measure the effects of acupuncture.

Studies on Hearing Loss & Injuries

Football players have been in the media more than ever due to their high rates of Traumatic Brain Injuries, or TBI. Sometimes lasting for many years after their time as players and with much greater severity than previously believed, these players suffer the consequences of repeated impacts against their brains. Even beyond the world of sports players, head injuries can lead to concussions or worse, particularly when they are the result of repeated assaults on the head. A concussion results when the brain has a contusion, or bruise, resulting from jostling against the skull. Let’s take a moment to learn a little bit more about Traumatic Brain Injuries and how they relate to a condition that might surprise you: hearing loss.

Effects of Traumatic Brain Injuries

The effects of Traumatic Brain Injuries are as varied as their sources are. In some cases these effects are reversible and mild. In other cases they can lead to permanent damage with serious symptoms. The neurological effects of Traumatic Brain Injuries are the most recognizable, including motor problems, dizziness, and speech problems. Some people experience sexual dysfunction, while others find themselves with symptoms resembling epilepsy or hydrocephalus. The cognitive effects of a Traumatic Brain Injury range from mild confusion to the extreme cases of memory loss and dysphoria, sometimes linked to the inability to put together words into meaningful units of cognition. Some people with Traumatic Brain Injuries experience impaired judgment and trouble making logical decisions for themselves, as well. In addition to these neurological and cognitive problems, some people actually find that their personalities are affected, as well. Mood and energy levels can be affected, and some people experience depression or anxiety as a result of a Traumatic Brain Injury. In addition to limited coping skills, the frustration can build to a point of anger management issues, but some people with Traumatic Brain Injuries go in the other direction of malaise, apathy, and general fatigue.

Traumatic Brain Injuries and Hearing Loss

In addition to the effects listed above, Traumatic Brain Injuries can lead to sensory impairments, including hearing loss. Let’s consider the ways that hearing loss can be related to a Traumatic Brain Injury. In the most obvious cases, an injury may occur not only to the brain but to one or both ears at the same time. A blow to the head can cause damage to the ear canal, reducing hearing function at the anatomical level. However, the relation with hearing loss does not stop there. Others experience hearing loss from a Traumatic Brain Injury due to an impairment of the auditory nervous pathway. If the injury occurred in such a way to damage the connection between the ears and the meaning-making mind, then the link between sound and thought can be severed. In these cases, a person may be able to “hear” just fine but may have trouble understanding or making sense of the sounds they encounter. On a more basic level, the injurious event may also cause hearing loss at the same time. A car crash or explosion may cause a very loud sound that damages the ability to hear, including not only hearing loss but also tinnitus, or ringing in the ears. Other hearing effects of a Traumatic Brain Injury include aural fullness, spatial recognition problems, vertigo, or problems differentiating background noise from the sound of a speaker or point of focus.

The good news is that treatment is available for people with many of these resulting conditions from a Traumatic Brain Injury. The first step is to consult with a doctor and to seek appropriate testing for the conditions that have occurred. If you believe that a history of head trauma, a specific incident, or a possible concussion might have caused a Traumatic Brain Injury, do not delay to get treatment from a medical professional. The associated effects need to be addressed at the root cause, and a neurologist may be the right person to contact for proper assessment. However, the resulting conditions of hearing loss and sensory impairment may be treated by an audiologist or hearing health professional. Working in concert with your medical personnel, you can devise a treatment plan for hearing loss that addresses the entire network of symptoms you experience.

Ear Infections & Hearing Loss

Anyone suffering from stuffiness and mucus can develop an ear infection. All it takes is a common cold to produce enough mucus to irritate the middle ear. The middle ear is the air-filled central cavity of the ear, behind the eardrum. Infections in this area can happen easily during or after upper respiratory infections that cause swelling in the back of the throat. This causes the tube that connects from a narrow passage leading from the pharynx to the cavity of the middle ear called the Eustachian tube to become lodged with mucus and phlegm, preventing proper drainage and creating an infection. Side effects of ear infections include loss of balance, pain, pressure and even temporary hearing loss.

Conductive hearing loss

An ear infection is classified as what is known as conductive hearing loss. Conductive hearing loss is caused anytime there is a problem passing sound waves anywhere along the pathway through the outer ear, eardrum, or middle ear. This is different than sensorineural hearing loss which is much more common and is related to irreparable damage to the nerves and tiny hair follicles of the inner ear responsible for transmitting sound signals to the brain. Some common causes of conductive hearing loss, besides ear infection include:

  • A fluid buildup in the middle ear due to allergies.
  • A problem with the drainage of the Eustachian tube
  • An injury to an eardrum
  • Tumors or growths blocking the ear canal
  • An impaction of earwax in your ear canal
  • A foreign object lodged in your ear.

Signs of a middle ear infection

Often the first sign that suggest you have a middle ear infection is pain in the ear along with excessive pressure from swelling. This is likely accompanied by a headache and discharge coming from your ear canal. Often it is changes in your hearing that are the earliest warning. Sounds may start to feel muffled and unclear like you are underwater. Because the middle ear is connected to your balance it may be a challenge to stand upright and you will most likely feel nauseous. Children under five years are more susceptible to ear infections than adults because the Eustachian tube in children is still developing so it is smaller and more horizontal than a mature Eustachian tube. This makes it more of a challenge for fluid to drain out of the ears of small children.

Treating middle ear infections

Often a doctor will recommend waiting for an ear infection to clear up on its own for 48 hours. Often with plenty of rest and consumption of hydrating fluids this is the case. In the meantime, doctors recommend to treat the pain with an anti-inflammatory drug to ease the buildup of pressure. Sometimes anesthetic drops are used to relieve pain if the eardrum is not torn or damaged.

Antibiotics: If your ear infection still persists after 48 hours physicians will recommend the use of antibiotics to clear up your ear infection. Antibiotics will often clear up the pain and symptoms of a middle ear infection in just a day or two. Even if symptoms have subsided, it is important to make sure to take the entire prescription of antibiotics to ensure that the infection goes away for good.

Ear Tubes: If you are finding that you are suffering from reoccurring middle ear infections there may be a problem with your Eustachian tube. Sometimes you will find that continuous fluid will buildup in the ear even after an infection has cleared up your doctor may suggest inserting a tube in the middle ear to help drain excessive fluid. This is an outpatient surgery called a myringotomy. A surgeon will make a tiny incision in the eardrum in which to suction out excessive fluid. A microscopic tube called a tympanostomy tube is inserted to aid in ventilate the middle ear to help ease reoccurring middle ear infections.

Treating Hearing Loss

Usually as your ear infection subsides you will find that your hearing will return to normal. If your hearing is still bothering you even after and ear infection has cleared up it is important that you make an appointment with an audiologist to explore the extent of your hearing issue. If a hearing loss cannot be resolved, hearing aids can help you compensate for the gaps in your hearing so you can communicate your clearest with the world around you.

Can Hearing Loss Be Cured?

If you have recently been diagnosed with hearing loss, you are not alone. Nearly 48 million people in the U.S. suffer from debilitating hearing loss. You may be wondering if there is a cure for your hearing loss. The answer depends on the results of your hearing test, which will tell your audiologist what type of hearing loss you have, and its severity.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

If your hearing loss is age-related or caused by exposure to excess noise, this falls under the type of hearing loss known as sensorineural hearing loss. This is the most common type of hearing loss and is caused either by the destruction of tiny hair cells in your inner ear that pick up the vibration of sound or the decay of the nerves that transmit sound from your inner ear to your brain. While there is no cure currently for this type of hearing loss to regenerate the damaged parts of the inner ear your hearing loss can be treated rather effectively with hearing aids. While hearing aids will never be exactly the same as your original hearing, they can help your brain hear the sounds it may have lost due to inner ear damage.

Conductive Hearing Loss

Conductive hearing loss is caused by a blockage or injury to the outer or middle ear. This includes blockages due to tumors, impaction of excess earwax, a build up of fluid due to allergies or infection or a tear to the eardrum. The good new about being diagnosed with conductive hearing loss is that most cases are temporary and are cured by means of treatment from a medical professional. Some of these treatments include antibiotics for ear infections, flushing of the ear canal for earwax compaction and surgery to correct inner ear injury and tumors. Because the parts of the outer and middle ear are very small and fragile you should never attempt to cure a blockage on your own as you could cause a more severe problem than before. In cases where conductive hearing loss can not be cure or instances where the patient suffers from a mixed hearing loss of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss, hearing aids or cochlear implants are used to supplement for hearing loss.

Research into Cures for Sensorineural Hearing Loss
While there is no cure for sensorineural hearing loss, that has not stopped many scientists for searching for a cure. With the knowledge that some animals including baby chicken, mice and zebra fish can re-grow if damaged. With this in mind researchers have sought to replicate this behavior for humans creating a long sought-after cure for sensorineural hearing loss. One of the most promising steps in this research is utilizing our knowledge of stem cells. Stem cell therapy, also known as regenerative medicine, promotes the repair response of injured tissue using stem cells. Stem cells are cells with the potential to develop into many different types of cells in the body. It is hoped that using stem cells scientists will be able to regenerate the tiny hair cells that help us hear in the inner ear.
Dr. Stefan Heller, professor of otolaryngology at Stanford University School of Medicine has been researching using stem cells to cure hearing but they are still in the experimentation phase. The cells of the inner ear are difficult to work with and far less than those found in the eyes. However, with the exploration of re-growth of hair cells in the ears of mice and some birds Dr. Heller hopes to find a cure that will make curing sensorineural hearing loss a common place treatment.

How Hearing Aids Help You Hear

In the mean time hearing aids have been proven over and over again to help patients suffering from hearing loss to be able to participate in conversation, and hear the world around them. Hearing aids work with your existing hearing to amplify the sounds your ear picks up and supplements sounds you would otherwise miss. If your hearing loss is severe then cochlear implants can be used to make sure you can pick up the most auditory information possible to be able to navigate the world. Hearing is a very important sense that keeps us connected to our loved ones, our bodies and our lives. Don’t let your hearing loss go untreated and live a life full of healthy sounds.

Conductive Hearing Loss: Signs, Causes, and Treatments

It’s a common misconception that only seniors have hearing loss. Age related hearing loss is just one kind of sensorineural hearing loss, or hearing loss due to damage to cells in the inner ear. Noise induced hearing loss is another form of sensorineural hearing loss, which affects people of all ages. However, there’s another kind of hearing loss that affects people of all ages: conductive hearing loss. This hearing loss affects the outer and middle ear and sounds never make it to the inner ear at all.

What is Conductive Hearing Loss?

This hearing loss is common among children and teens, and adults and seniors can also experience conductive hearing loss. This hearing loss is caused by a blockage in the outer or middle ear, so that sounds from the environment aren’t conducted to the inner ear. When there is any blockage in the ear, a fluid buildup, or some structural damage to the ear canal or the middle ear, the result will be conductive hearing loss.

Watch for the Signs of Conductive Hearing Loss

There are a few telltale signs that differentiate conductive hearing loss from sensorineural hearing loss.

  • Sudden onset: Conductive hearing loss is often characterized by a very sudden onset, or rapid decline in hearing abilities, whereas sensorineural hearing loss is often a slow and gradual hearing loss that you may not even notice in the first few months.
  • Muffled sounds: Conductive hearing loss can be identified by a feeling that all the sounds around you are very muffled. With sensorineural hearing loss you may struggle to hear high pitched sounds, but hear well in other registers. With conductive hearing loss, both high- and low-pitched sounds will seem muffled or faint, as if they’re coming from very far away.
  • Hearing loss in one ear: Conductive hearing loss can affect one or both ears, while sensorineural hearing loss is often present in both ears.

Other signs of conductive hearing loss include struggling to follow conversations, turning up the volume on the TV, or sleeping through the alarm clock. You may experience pain in the ear, have a discharge in the ear, or even feel dizzy.

Causes of Conductive Hearing Loss

Causes of conductive hearing loss vary widely, and anything that can block the ear canal or damage the middle ear will cause hearing loss.

  • Impacted earwax – one common cause of conductive hearing loss is a buildup of earwax in the ear canal. Using Q-tips can push old, dirt- and dust-filled earwax back against the eardrum, and lead to a blocked ear canal.
  • Ear infection – another cause of conductive hearing loss is an ear infection in either the ear canal or the middle ear. An ear infection causes inflammation and swelling, and can lead to a buildup of fluid either in the ear canal or the middle ear. Ear infections are very painful, and will often cause hearing loss.
  • Ruptured eardrum – an injury can cause hearing loss, and a head trauma can rupture the middle ear or eardrum, interfering with the eardrum function, and causing conductive hearing loss.
  • Otosclerosis – Otosclerosis attacks the bones of the middle ear, known as the ossicles, and creates an abnormal growth on the bones. This stops the ossicles from moving against the eardrum and sounds won’t reach the inner ear, leading to hearing loss.

Treating Conductive Hearing Loss

Conductive hearing loss can sometimes be treated very easily, and this hearing loss won’t be permanent. For example, removing a buildup of ear wax can open the ear canal, and make it easy for sounds to reach the inner ear. Medical treatments are best used when the conductive hearing loss is due to an infection, and antibiotics can fight the infection, speed the draining of the ear, and have you hearing normally in just a few days.

Other causes of conductive hearing loss will need more advanced treatment, and you may opt for a surgical implant, or invest in hearing devices. Hearing aids will help you hear the sounds around you and get back to participating in conversations with friends and loved ones. A hearing test will determine the severity of your hearing loss, show what sounds you’re missing, and help you pick the perfect device that will let you hear clearly.

Tips for Communicating with Hearing Loss

When you have hearing loss, communication can be a struggle. Treating your hearing loss with a quality pair of hearing devices goes a long way to making communication easier and relieving many of the frustrations of hearing loss. With hearing aids, you won’t face loneliness or isolation, but learning a few tips for communicating with hearing loss will help you foster your relationships and be an even better communicator.

Tips for Communicating with Hearing Loss

Communicating with hearing loss can be a challenge, so keep these tips in mind as you communicate with family and friends, and enjoy better conversations.

Be open about your hearing loss: When you’re having conversations, be open about your hearing loss. Letting your conversation partner know about your hearing loss at the beginning of the conversation will facilitate clear communication. Ask them to help you hear better by speaking a bit slower, or sitting on the side of your better ear, and be upfront about your needs.

Get rid of distractions: If you’re at home or at a friend’s house, get rid of distractions by turning down the music, turning off the TV, and turning down fans or anything else adding to the noise in the space. A quiet environment will make it easier to communicate and follow conversations.

Turn up the lights: Dim lighting might set the mood, but if you have hearing loss, you rely on your sight to give you extra information. You pick up on body language and facial expressions, and you need to see clearly in order to communicate effectively. Make sure the lights are bright enough that you can easily see your conversation partner.

Choose your seat wisely: When you’re in a group conversation, choose your seat wisely. Try to sit in a place where you can easily see most people’s faces, such as the head of foot of the table, or choose a seat in the middle of the table where you’ll be able to hear more of the conversation. Where you sit can make a big difference when it comes to clear communication.

Don’t be afraid to laugh: When you have hearing loss it’s important to have a good sense of humor. You might mishear a comment or question, and you’ll sometimes answer inappropriately. Don’t worry about this miscommunication and don’t be afraid to laugh about it. Ask that someone repeats what’s been said and try again.

Check if you’ve heard correctly: You may not have heard everything, but you think you got the gist of what was said. Take a guess at what was said, and don’t be afraid of getting it wrong. You’ve probably picked up more that you think from the non-verbal cues. Check if you’ve heard correctly before moving on, and make sure you and your conversation partner are on the same page.

Rest when you need to: Hearing loss can be exhausting, and as you get more tired it can be more difficult to understand what’s been said. If you’ve been straining to hear for the whole day, give yourself permission to rest when you need to, and take a break from a conversation if you’re too tired. Your brain is working hard to help you hear, so give yourself time to rest in a quiet area before rejoining the conversation.

Avoid peak times at restaurants: If you’re planning to have dinner at a restaurant with your family, try to arrive early. Rather than eating during peak hours, having dinner even an hour earlier can help you beat the crowds, and enjoy dinner in the restaurant before it’s packed and noisy.

Ask for Help

Communication is a two-way street, and you can ask for help whenever you need it. Follow all these tips for communicating with hearing loss and ask for help whenever you need it. Be clear in your instructions, and always let your friends and family know how much you appreciate their help. Your friends can help you hear clearly by:

    • Getting your attention before they start speaking.
    • Always facing you when speaking so you can see their facial expressions.
    • Rephrasing something you didn’t understand.
    • Telling you the conversation subject if you join a conversation in the middle.
    • Writing something down to make sure you’ve understood.

Treating Hearing Loss Helps You Stay Socially Connected

Hearing loss has a huge impact on your life, and it’s not just about hearing. When untreated hearing loss stops you from participating in conversations, connecting with loved ones, and pursuing the hobbies you love, you’ll face feelings of loneliness, depression, and even social isolation. Learn more about hearing loss, and how you can treat your hearing loss to stay socially connected and improve your overall health and quality of life.

Social Isolation

Social isolation and loneliness affect millions of Americans, and seniors are often the most at risk. In fact, it’s estimated that 26% of seniors risk an early death linked to their feelings of isolation. Many seniors have experienced changes in their health or mobility that keeps them home more often, and some are dealing with the death of a spouse or close friend that can lead to feelings of social isolation. Isolation is the feeling of being physically and emotionally detached or distant from family and friends, and feeling disconnected from your community and source of social support.

Hearing Loss Leads to Increased Social Isolation

Hearing loss is a big predictor of social isolation, and living with untreated hearing loss increases your risk of loneliness and depression. Think back to a time when you had clear hearing. You probably left the house a least once every day, frequently met friends for a coffee, or went to a family member’s house for dinner. As your hearing ability changed, you struggled to communicate with friends and loved ones, and often felt self-conscious or embarrassed that you couldn’t hear clearly. Did you start ignoring social invitations, and choose to stay home alone rather than deal with the stress of your hearing loss?

Hearing loss increases the risk of social isolation as those with hearing loss avoid social situations, and decide to stay home rather than risk annoying friends by asking them to repeat themselves, or feeling embarrassed when they can’t participate in conversations. As hearing loss worsens, seniors become even more socially isolated, and lose the connections that have kept them happy and healthy in past years.

Take Responsibility for Your Hearing Loss

If you have a hearing loss, it’s easy to blame others for your inability to hear. You might think that your conversation partners should speak louder, or stop mumbling. However, if you think that everyone around you is speaking too quietly, there’s a good chance the problem is with your ears, not with your friends. Take responsibility for your hearing loss, and don’t get upset at your friends.

Treating hearing loss with a quality pair of hearing aids won’t just make sounds louder, it will balance out sounds, amplifying the high frequency sounds you struggle to hear, and making speech clearer. Hearing devices will reduce the background noises that make it hard to focus on speech, will amplify soft sounds, and won’t over amplify sounds you’re able to hear. Hearing instruments will make it easy for you to follow conversations and hear speech, and you’ll be able to effortlessly connect with your friends.

Treating Hearing Loss Helps You Stay Socially Connected

If you’ve been struggling with feelings of social isolation, anxiety, or even depression, treating your hearing loss can help you stay socially connected, and give you back your joy. With hearing devices you’ll enjoy going out with friends, or spending the afternoon with your family at a sports event. You’ll follow conversations without having to ask people to repeat themselves, and you’ll catch every word that’s being said. Have you been staying at home rather than face the embarrassment of not hearing? Treating your hearing loss will give you the courage to say yes to every social event, and help you stay socially connected. You’ll be able to participate in conversations, express your thoughts, and avoid feeling confused or left out of the conversation.

With hearing aids you’ll improve your relationships with family and friends, and share all the little moments that make life so magical. You’ll be fully present in conversations, and even have enough energy to take up a new hobby or learn a new skill. Treating your hearing loss allows you to hear in any environment, lets you enjoy your social life, and helps you stay socially connected.

How Treating Hearing Loss Improves Your Relationships

What’s your favorite activity to do with your significant other or spouse? Do you enjoy getting coffee together at the local cafe, or going to a new art gallery or museum? Maybe you like getting outside, and enjoy walks in the woods or even a small hike. Perhaps you can’t wait to get home at the end of the day to spend time at home watching your favorite show together. Now imagine doing this pastime without being able to communicate with your loved one. When you have untreated hearing loss, each day can become difficult, and you miss out on the thing that makes all these little moments so special. Treating your hearing loss is the best thing you can do to improve your relationships, and make the most of every day.

Communication is Key

When you’re not able to communicate with your significant other, you risk damaging the most important relationship in your life. When you can’t share even the great moments, what will you do on a bad day? Imagine receiving some bad news about your loved one’s health, or having a rough day at work. You want to be there to support your spouse, or need some support after an exhausting day. Without clear communication, you won’t be able to support each other through difficult times, or celebrate all the small moments of intimacy and connection. Communication is the key to a successful relationship as you’re able to help each other through difficult moments and increase happiness at joyful moments.

Hearing Loss and Relationships

Communication between you and your loved one can have ups and downs, and that’s normal, but hearing should be effortless. When you have a hearing loss, daily communication will break down, and not only will this affect your life in profound ways, it will damage your relationships, especially with your significant other, and decrease intimacy. Living with hearing loss will damage this close bond and hurt both you and your partner.

A recent study in the UK surveyed 1,500 people with hearing loss, asking them questions about how their hearing loss impacted their lives. 44% said their hearing loss was impacting their relationships with their spouse, family, and friends! Additionally, 34% of people surveyed felt that their untreated hearing loss had contributed to poor communication, and they experienced a loss of relationships, and in some cases, even their marriage.

The Effects of Untreated Hearing Loss

Untreated hearing loss might not seem like a big deal, but if you’re not hearing clearly, you’ll soon realize just how impactful hearing loss can be. As your hearing loss worsens and communication breaks down, you’ll experience a lot of negative outcomes such as:

  • Feeling very isolated and alone
  • Feeling frustrated that you can’t communicate easily
  • Feeling a loss of close companionship
  • Withdrawing from social activities where your hearing loss holds you back
  • Feeling a lack of intimacy
  • Struggling with daily communication, and a decrease in communication

Hearing Aids That Work for Your Life

Did you know that 48 million Americans have hearing loss? If you ever feel like you’re the only one struggling to hear, know that you’re not alone. If you treat your hearing loss, you’ll be able to communicate clearly with your spouse and your loved ones. Both you and your partner will benefit when you treat your hearing loss, and you’ll be able to share all the inside jokes you love, improve intimacy, and enjoy companionship with your significant other. If you’ve been having trouble communicating, and struggle to follow conversations, whether at home or during the activities you love, explore your treatment options, and strengthen your relationships before it’s too late.

Finding the hearing aids that work for your life will improve your communication and restore your relationship with your significant other. Along with daily communication, you’ll share stories, intimate moments, and jokes, and get back to making positive memories with your loved one. You’ll also be able to talk through issues and resolve any conflicts before they get out of hand. Treating hearing loss improves your relationships, and with a quality pair of hearing devices you’ll be able to hear every word, invest in the relationship that means the most, and improve your quality of life.