It is inevitable that as we grow older, we experience bodily changes. Many of these changes can be unpleasant or cause us anxiety. For example, weakened muscular and joint health puts one at a greater risk for falls and fractures. On the other hand, vision and hearing loss can leave one feeling lost and out of place. Dealing with hearing loss does not have to be a solitary endeavor. Knowing what this is all about can help one manage the symptoms and lead a high quality of life!
Symptoms of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss rarely springs up unexpectedly on someone one day except in the case of severe injury or trauma. It is a slow descent, and you may have noticed several early ‘warning signs’ that can clue you in. For example, you may have noticed that you are having trouble listening to people on the phone or following a conversation. If you find yourself asking someone to repeat themselves, this could be a sign too. You may have a specific loss of sensitivity to high-pitched sounds or foreground noises.
Types of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss is not an umbrella term. In fact, it consists of a wide range from mild hearing loss to full-blown deafness. There are three primary categories of hearing loss. The first is sensorineural hearing loss. This occurs when there is damage to the sensitive inner ear or auditory nerve from illness or extremely loud noise. It is usually permanent.
The type is conductive hearing loss which happens when there is a lot of wax build-up in the ear or an infection. This causes temporary hearing loss which is restored after the obstruction is removed.
Finally, the third type is a mix of the above two. This can happen when an infection that starts as an obstruction leads to more severe nerve damage.
Challenges of Hearing Loss
Although a significant proportion of adults will succumb to hearing loss, having firsthand experience of it can cause embarrassment and worry. Indeed, personal conversations become stressful and meetings with coworkers can feel like a challenge. Communication becomes an issue in day-to-day settings and there is a tendency to blame oneself. Everyone deals with hearing loss differently and it is important to talk to a trusted friend, family member, or therapist about your feelings.
Lifestyle Changes to Deal with Hearing Loss
A great skill to learn and especially for those with hearing loss is sign language and lip-reading. This will likely require additional classes from a speech therapist or American Sign Language (ASL) tutor, but the payoffs are worth it.
Another option is to switch to closed captioning on video streaming platforms to better help you understand and enjoy your entertainment.
Hearing Aids and Cochlear Implants
With the rapid pace of technology, bulky and jarring hearing aids are a thing of the past. They tend to be sleek and almost invisible that can be put in the ear or behind the ear. These help in amplifying noises. Cochlear implants are electronic and send the sound vibrations directly to the auditory nerve.