• Hearing loss in older adults (cont.)

    Hearing loss in older adults (continued)

    As you probably noticed by now, there is an adjustment period to wearing hearing aids.  It can sometimes take up to 4 months for you to get used to your hearing aids and to get the most benefit out of them.

    The following principles will help you to successfully transition to better hearing health:

    1. Acceptance

    The first step begins even before the purchase of hearing aids.  When you admit and accept your permanent hearing loss, it prepares you to get the help you need.  It helps you to stop hiding or denying a hearing problem – and at last you can end the pretence that you understand speech, when most often you do not.

    1. Positive attitude

    A positive attitude is a personal choice and helps to achieve better hearing.  Success is not achieved just by purchasing hearing aids.  You must have a desire to learn and have the determination to increase your ability to hear.  When hearing aid use is approached with a positive attitude, success is far more likely to be achieved.

    1. Education

    Personal education is the most effective remedy for hearing loss.  You can participate more in your adjustment to hearing aid use if you know more about your hearing loss and treatment.  Hearing is a complex function that requires not only ears, but the cooperation of the brain and your other senses.

    1. Realistic expectations

    To obtain success your need to set realistic expectations.  Hearing aids will not make you hear perfectly, it will help you hear better.  Remember that the learning curve can take from six weeks to six months.  Focus on your improvement, success comes from practice and commitment.

    1. Practice and patience

    A combination of practice, time and patience forms the last principle of success.  Once you have used your hearing aids enough for your brain to acclimate, you will be able to hear without thinking so much about hearing.

    Helen Keller once said,


    “Blindness cuts us off from things, but deafness cuts us off from people.”

    The impact of hearing loss on personal relationships can be huge.  Although typically considered to be a personal problem, the experience of hearing loss is shared and managed by both the person with hearing loss and those closest to them.

    Family, friends and colleagues can do a lot to help you hear better.  Let them know about your hearing instruments, and tell them what they can do to make communication easier for you.

    Here are some of the things your friends and family can do to help:

    • Try to move closer to the person with hearing loss when communicating.
    • Sit or stand where your face is well lit to make your facial expressions and lips easy to read.
    • Do not talk while chewing or smoking.
    • Do not speak from behind a newspaper or from another room.
    • Do not lean your cheek or chin on your hand while talking.
    • Try to talk slower.
    • Try rephrasing the sentence when the person with hearing loss does not understand, rather than just repeating yourself.
    • Avoid talking in noisy doorways and next to open windows.
    • Communicating in an echoing room is difficult – try to find a place where your conversation is not distorted.

    Our hearing is, of all the five senses, perhaps the most precious.  When we lose it, we lose contact with the people we love and the world in general.  Our sense of hearing helps to keep us safe, together with helping us communicate and socialise.  We rely on our hearing in so many ways, which is why we should treasure and protect it.

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