One of the most common health conditions associated with aging is hearing loss. As you get older, your ear changes and this makes problems like hearing loss more likely.
While hearing loss is a fairly normal result of aging, it can also be prompted by damaging lifestyle choices.
Considering this, hearing loss is not a problem that only affects older people. It can affect anyone if they are not aware of the risks of hearing damage.
For perspective, 15% of American adults report hearing loss. This means that you may also be at risk.
If you’ve spent long periods around loud sounds, are above the age of 60, or have a general difficulty hearing, then you may be facing hearing loss.
Should this be the case, you’ll need to know how to address it. We’ll point out how you manage hearing loss below.
Notice the Warning Signs
You should begin by making an effort to notice the warning signs of hearing loss.
Loss of hearing can be identified in several different ways.
A few of the most common symptoms include always using electronic devices on high volume, difficulty hearing speech when someone isn’t facing you, a struggle to make out individual words in a spoken sentence, and frequently asking others to repeat themselves.
You’re also likely to experience psychological symptoms as a result of your poor hearing. This can lead to depression, irritability, isolation, and withdrawal.
When you have a hard time hearing, it places a serious strain on your life. It makes it hard to enjoy music, watch TV, or have a conversation with others. Because of this, you may avoid activities that are impacted by your hearing.
Considering this, the signs of hearing loss are often obvious but you may not realize what they are pointing to. Experiencing one or more of the symptoms listed above is a likely sign that your hearing should be addressed.
Seek Medical Advice
If you have any hearing concerns, you should seek the advice of a medical professional.
It’s certainly helpful to identify the warning signs of hearing loss first because this gives you important insight. However, you’ll need to see a doctor and/or audiologist if you want to improve your hearing.
This is important for a few different reasons.
First, a doctor can evaluate what is causing your hearing loss. Many different factors can impact your hearing and it may not necessarily be permanent damage. A typical example of this is poor hearing due to excessive ear wax buildup.
Second, the doctor can determine what the best course of treatment is for your hearing loss. For excessive ear wax, this would be removing it. Alternatively, irreversible hearing loss would prompt the use of some form of assisted hearing device like hearing aids.
Lastly, seeing a medical professional can provide you with a dose of reality. It can be hard to accept that our bodies gradually weaken with age. Having an expert tell you the truth is a painful, yet effective method for coming to terms with your situation.
Any time you face a health challenge, medical professionals are your best resource. If you’re serious about fixing your hearing, then you’ll need to see a doctor.
Modify Your Communication Style
An effective tactic to combat hearing loss involves modifying your communication style.
Arguably the greatest impact of poor hearing is strained communication. Gone are the days where you could have seamless conversations with others without missing words, mishearing things, or being unable to distinguish what’s being said.
Engaging in a conversation is an activity that heavily involves hearing, but it doesn’t need to. Instead, you can use other strategies to improve your communication.
In particular, you can learn to read lips, ensure that you’re always facing the person you’re speaking to, read facial expressions and body language, only converse in quiet environments, and inform whoever you’re speaking to about your situation beforehand.
It may take some time to adjust, but you will surely catch on and this makes it much easier to talk to others. When you’re able to smoothly converse again, it will greatly improve your life and relationships.
Prevent Further Damage
You must also be careful to prevent any further damage to your ears.
This is easier to do than you might think. The problem with hearing loss is that it may cause you to overcompensate. A good example of this is blasting the volume of your TV so that you can hear it.
While this may allow you to hear the TV, it likely only makes things louder and doesn’t improve your inability to distinguish individual words. Furthermore, it is increasing the sound exposure to your ears.
Sound creates sound waves, which are measured in intensity by decibels. The more decibels produced in a sound wave, the louder it is, and the greater the impact it has.
A TV at a low volume will produce significantly fewer decibels than a TV at full volume. This is what makes it easier to hear at higher volumes.
Putting this together, listening to sounds at a loud volume means that you are being exposed to a high level of decibels regardless of whether you can hear them. Situations like this are extremely common for people who struggle with their hearing.
This is why you must focus on preventing any further damage. Refrain from turning up the volume and opt for subtitles instead. Use extra ear protection if around loud noises for work.
Consider Hearing Assistance Devices
Depending on the level of your hearing loss, you may want to consider using a hearing assistance device.
This can be considered anything that helps you hear. Some assisted hearing devices are permanent while others are less invasive and removable.
A few great examples of hearing assistance devices include hearing aids, surgical implants, and hearing amplifiers.
These devices all vary in effectiveness and they do not always work the same between different people. This is because the specific damage causing your hearing loss may differ, meaning that a different portion of your ear is affected.
The hearing assistance device you choose will likely be recommended by your doctor. They will understand what part of your ear is affected and what solution can address it.
While something like wearing a hearing aid might not be what you want to do, modern hearing aids are hard to see and highly effective at improving your hearing. This makes hearing assistance devices worth any small inconvenience they might create.
It can certainly be difficult to lose your hearing, but it happens to many people and is a normal result of aging. That said, you shouldn’t neglect any issues with your hearing because most damage is irreversible and can be made worse.
With this in mind, we have a few recommendations for addressing hearing loss. This includes noticing the warning signs, seeking medical advice, modifying your communication style, preventing further damage, and considering a hearing assistance device.
As difficult as hearing loss is, you can take control of the situation and make your life better. You have nothing to lose and only better hearing to gain!