Hearing loss now affects millions of people across the United States with more and more people of all ages diagnosed every day. Like any diagnosis, it’s important to be informed about what it is and how to manage it as part of your everyday life.
These do’s and don’ts of hearing loss can help you or someone you love adjust to a recent diagnosis of hearing impairment.
What is hearing loss
There are three main types of hearing loss, but it can be as unique as the individual thanks to variations and levels of loss. In general, there is:
Sensorineural hearing loss: This is the most common type of permanent hearing loss. It is the result of damage to the inner ear or the hearing nerve due to aging, noise, an injury or illness, genetic conditions, ototoxic medications and similar. It is not reversible but is often managed with the help of hearing aids.
Conductive hearing loss: This type of hearing loss is when some or all sound waves are unable to travel from the outer or middle ear to the inner ear preventing some degree of hearing. It is often the result of excess earwax or fluid blocking the sound waves. It is reversible in some cases.
Mixed hearing loss: This type of hearing loss is a combination of both sensorineural and conductive hearing loss. It may also be treatable and reversible.
If you have been diagnosed with a permanent hearing loss, you may be concerned about what to do next and how that hearing loss will affect your life. The good news is that working closely with your hearing healthcare professional and following do’s and don’ts like these can make the transition smoother.
What to do after a hearing loss diagnosis
Work closely with your hearing healthcare professional to manage hearing loss. Regular hearing evaluations and hearing aid adjustments can help prevent further hearing loss and associated health problems such as cognitive decline and anxiety.
Find your tribe. Join hearing loss support groups in your area to get the support you need. These groups can also offer guidance as you adjust to your diagnosis and how to manage it while maintaining your lifestyle. You shouldn’t go it alone.
Understand that your hearing loss diagnosis affects those around you. Often those who have been diagnosed with hearing loss focus only on its effect on them without seeing that it will impact relationships with others. It is more important than ever to keep lines of communication open with friends, family colleagues to discuss how hearing loss may be affecting those relationships and strategies to prevent a negative impact.
What not to do after a hearing loss diagnosis
It is tempting to think your hearing loss isn’t significant enough to need treatment. Don’t. Any hearing loss, however small, is impacting your relationships and health. Work with your hearing healthcare provider to get fitted for hearing aids to manage your hearing loss.
Don’t give up your social activities and hobbies. Many people diagnosed with hearing loss begin withdrawing from social interaction out of fear, embarrassment or frustration. Unfortunately, this can increase the risk of depression and anxiety not to mention the deterioration of relationships.
Don’t stereotype. Hearing loss can affect anyone at any time during their life, and thanks to today’s advanced hearing aids and other hearing technology, those diagnosed with hearing loss don’t have to miss a beat in their active lives.
If you’ve been diagnosed with hearing loss, follow these do’s and don’ts to turn up the volume and stay on track with your life. If you believe you may have hearing loss, don’t wait. Schedule a hearing evaluation today to start treating your hearing loss and get back in the hearing game.