Latest posts by Timothy Hunsaker Au.D. (see all)
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Hearing aids are the best remedy for hearing loss, and with the different models and styles of devices available today, there is something for everyone. The best thing you can do for your hearing, or to help a loved one that has hearing loss, is to schedule a hearing evaluation at Desert Valley Audiology. Our caring and friendly staff has years of experience helping individuals solve hearing challenges. Hearing devices and using some of the communication strategies we outline here can help you keep the lines of communication open with a loved one.
Prevalence of Hearing Loss
As the population ages, it is more than likely someone you know, a partner, professional colleague, parent or friend has hearing loss. Studies indicate by 2020 more than 44 million adults in the United States, age 20 and older, will have what doctors call “clinically meaningful” hearing loss. It is expected that number will double by 2060. The projected increase is due to people living longer. Some hearing loss occurs as a part of natural aging and as seniors live longer, the population with hearing loss grows.
Hearing aids are better than ever at improving the ability of those with hearing loss to live their life to the fullest, but there are still some strategies that are useful to ease conversation frustrations and make people with hearing loss more comfortable.
Communication Strategies with Hearing Loss
If you have hearing loss, don’t be afraid to tell others how they can be better communicators. If you are talking to a loved one that has hearing loss, remember to face them when you speak. Many people, even though they have hearing devices, still rely on lip reading as a helpful aid.
Speak clearly, don’t shout, don’t cover your mouth with your hand, and if your hair is long and happens to swing near your face, try and keep it away from your mouth.
During a conversation, try to keep background noise to a minimum. If they have trouble understanding, avoid yelling to make yourself louder, as this could distort your speech sounds. Instead, consider rephrasing what you’re trying to say. For example, if “are we leaving for the store?” isn’t being understood – try saying “when do we go to Target?” People with hearing difficulties can put phrasing into context and be able to understand better. This also means try not to abruptly change the subject or mix two or three thoughts together.
Background Noise Issues
If you are having trouble hearing a server or someone sitting at your table in a crowded restaurant, imagine having hearing issues at the same time! Communication strategies to help in this situation would be to make sure you are sitting facing the person with the noise behind you. Lighting is also important. Dimly lighted rooms pose a challenge because it is harder for the listener to pick up visual cues and read your lips.
At Work and At Home
If a co-worker has hearing issues, try and find a quiet spot to conduct important conversations or rely on e-mail and texts. Don’t assume co-workers can’t or can hear something. Ask them what would be helpful to accommodate their hearing loss. They may suggest repositioning their desks to put a noisy copy machine or other office machinery behind them and also put their desk in a better lighted area.
For a family member, keep communication lines open. Offer to go with them to get a hearing evaluation and put the suggestion in a positive light such as “You might be missing out on some family things because of hearing issues, how about we get a hearing evaluation?” A little nudge and some companionship may be all it takes.
Be a Supportive Ally
New hearing aids can take some getting used to, although new technologies make them very effective and user friendly. Encourage a family member to “practice” listening to the television and listening to what they sound like when they talk with their new hearing aids in. Make sure they go to any follow-up appointments that may be scheduled at Desert Valley Audiology. Many of the hearing aid manufacturers have helplines which can give tips and direction if a family member has problems and they are staffed 24/7. We are here for you to answer your questions and help you adjust to your better hearing experiences. Call Desert Valley Audiology today to schedule a hearing evaluation.