For those who experience hearing loss, it can be a struggle to communicate with others in general. While hearing loss in one ear affects roughly 48 million people, according to the Better Hearing Institute, many put the problem on a back burner for a number of reasons. In fact, the lack of ability to communicate properly with others is often a concern for people with hearing loss and their families. Individuals who are close to the the person who is coping with hearing loss can do a number of things to make sure they are treating and accommodating the issue.
While there may not be a stigma around wearing glasses or contacts, hearing aids are a different story. Many people think that hearing aids are bulky, noticeable and uncomfortable, but technology has come a long way and hearing aids can be virtually invisible. Unfortunately, because of this, some people may shy away from letting others know if they have a hard time hearing things. Family members and friends can try to pick up on subtle cues so they can help them treat their hearing loss.
- Do they constantly turn up the volume on the radio or television?
- Do they complain about ringing or buzzing in their ears?
- Do they always comment about not being able to hear in loud settings like a restaurant?
- Do they have trouble hearing when they can't take note of nonverbal cues, hand gestures or lip reading?
- Do they ask you to repeat yourself often?
All of these questions may help you to determine whether or not your family member or loved one has hearing loss. If they cannot, or choose not to, communicate with you about the problem, you can take it upon yourself to find treatment. Untreated hearing loss can put a huge strain on daily life, and it can lead to other conditions such as Alzheimer's and dementia. Additionally, it can put your family members in an unsafe position in the case of an emergency.
People with dementia, ALS or other illnesses that have an effect on the brain may have trouble communicating that they have hearing loss as well. Visiting an audiologist is the best way to determine whether or not you or a loved one has hearing loss. A hearing health specialist can test for the severity of hearing loss and the next steps to take.