Stages of hearing loss
People dealing with hearing loss can also be dealing with grief and denial. This can explain why it is often a long process between the onset of hearing loss and the decision to seek advice and treatment.
As natural hearing begins to wane, many people compensate by trying to change the people, places and things around them. They turn up the volume, ask people to repeat themselves, avoid talking on the telephone and rely on their family members to interpret for them. The cycle can lead to isolation for the sufferer and resentment and frustration for family members.
The first stage in the hearing journey is realising that you may have hearing loss.
Nobody wants to lose the vital sense of hearing. And for many reasons, getting help with hearing loss is much more involved than getting help for vision correction. So instead of reaching out, many people deny hearing loss and resist doing anything about it.
When change is warranted, it is a unique human trait to try to adapt our environment to ourselves rather than the other way around. People who resist hearing help begin to turn up the TV and radio volume, make educated guesses about what they’ve heard and become more reliant on facial movements and expressions as well as frequently ask people to repeat themselves. Often they avoid talking on the phone and social situations where there is background noise.
4. Co-dependent behaviour
When hearing loss goes untreated, family members often play the role of translator or go between—doing for the person with hearing loss what he or she should be doing themselves.
5. Emotional changes
Hearing loss can be stressful for both the individual and the people around them, with psychological and social impacts.
6. Frustration and defeat
For many reasons—including embarrassment, mistaken beliefs, and the perceived stigma of wearing hearing aids. Untreated, many people with hearing issues, withdraw into their own world and begin to believe nothing will help them.
7. Sensory deprivation
Loss of hearing creates some of the same symptoms reported by people who have been deprived of sensory stimulation. Over time it diminishes tolerance to social interaction. In addition, failure to stimulate the auditory portion of the brain can result in a rapid decline of speech recognition.
8. Getting help
When you’re ready to get help, the family doctor, in the quiet of the exam room says, "Your hearing loss is minor." The truth of the matter is hearing loss has far reaching effects and less than 20 percent of physicians screen for hearing loss. It’s important to get a hearing test by a Hearing Care Professional for an accurate assessment of your hearing impairment and explanation of hearing solutions.It maybe that hearing aids are not necessary.
9. Retraining your brain using hearing instruments
However if they are, hearing aids are not like glasses. When you first use them, sounds you haven’t heard for a long time will seem strange and foreign. It will take time for your brain to adjust and to remember how to tune out background noise. For those who stick with it —who are motivated and positive about adapting to digital hearing aids—the success rate is nearly 90 percent.
10. Continuing to adapt
The most successful hearing aid wearers employ additional listening strategies, recommended by their Hearing Care Professional to improve hearing. These simple communication strategies—like asking the speaker to face you and attending to the context and message of the speaker—help everyone benefit from interaction.
Successful wearers also return to their Hearing Care Professionals for questions, updates, regular retests and adjustments.