• Yes, I think I have a hearing loss …. but what now?

    Yes, I think I have a hearing loss …. but what now?

    Did you complete the questionnaire in the last blog? 

    Did you answer “yes” to three or more of the questions?  This could indicate that you have a hearing problem and you must have your hearing tested.

    At this stage, you are probably wondering why you are losing your hearing.  There are varied reasons for losing one’s hearing.  With increasing age, may people lose their hearing slowly.  This condition is known as presbycusis (age-related hearing loss).  It can affect some people more than others, the reason for this is not clear, but it seems to run in families.

    Years of exposure to loud noise can be another reason for hearing loss with aging.  This condition is known as noise-induced hearing loss.  Hearing loss can also be caused by medical problems like viral or bacterial infections, heart conditions or stroke, head injuries, tumors and even certain medicines.  Age-related hearing loss is a sensorineural hearing loss that occurs when the tiny hair cells in the inner ear are damaged or die as we age.  The hair cells in the inner ear do not re-grow or regenerate like many of the other cells in our bodies.

    There is no cure for presbycusis, but there are things you can do to maintain a normal lifestyle.  Hearing aids can help in many cases.  Telephone amplifiers and other assistive devices are also available to help with communication difficulties.


    Age related hearing loss is normally treated with modern, digital hearing aids.

    Hearing aids will make people with age related hearing loss hear better again, but it will not restore the hearing abilities to where it was when they were younger.  Instead it will use and strengthen the hearing that you still have. Hearing aids are electronic instruments that intelligently make sounds louder.  Hearing aids are available as behind-the-ear, in-the-ear, and in-the-canal models.  The choice of style of hearing aid will be determined by your hearing loss, your perception of how easy it is to use and your perception of its appearance.


    Practical problems include inserting, removing, and cleaning the hearing aid.  Other basic handling problems can exist like changing batteries or controlling the volume.  Ordinary sounds will sound different when you wear a hearing aid, but your audiologist will help you get used to it.  Sometimes you may have to try more than one hearing aid to find the one that works best for you.  Your audiologist can give you a trial period with a few different hearing aids to help you with your decision and together you will work together until you are comfortable with your new hearing aids.


    You and your family can work together to make hearing easier with your new hearing aids. 

    Here are a few things you can do:

    • Tell those close to you about your hearing loss. They need to know that it is difficult for you to hear, and by knowing they can help you.
    • Ask your friends and family to look at you when they talk so that you can see their faces – it helps you to understand them better.
    • Ask people to speak louder and clearer without shouting.
    • Turn off the TV or radio when you are having a conversation with someone.
    • Background noise makes it hard to hear people talk, be aware of noise around you – when going to a restaurant, do not sit near the kitchen or a band playing music.


    Hearing problems can be serious and if you suspect that you or your loved one have a hearing problem, the most important thing you can do is to seek professional advice.  An audiologist has specialized training in identifying and measuring the type and degree of hearing loss and recommending treatment options.

    To hear better may be tough on everyone for a while, but working together with your audiologist, family and friends will make it easier.  It will take time for you to get used to your hearing aids and watching people as they talk.  The people around you will get used to speaking louder and more clearly while facing you.  Be patient and continue to work together.

    To hear better is worth the effort.

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