Someone Has Been Diagnosed with Hearing Loss. What’s Next?
As hearing loss becomes more common in the U.S., more people will learn that they or someone they love has hearing loss. Inevitably, their question is some form of, “What’s next?”
There are many options and considerations as someone considers treatment. Our goal is to give you a good place to start and offer some resources you can consult as you move forward in your journey.
Types and Causes of Hearing Loss
Some of the most common (and easily treated) causes result from wax build-up or fluid in the ear canal, while others include progressive hearing loss—due to age, injury or environmental factors—and hereditary hearing loss. Whichever is your situation, your hearing health professional will develop with you a treatment plan tailored to your specific needs.
Another part of the type of loss, is the frequency range affected: high-frequency, low-frequency, or both. Similar to being either near- or far-sighted, hearing loss that affects a specific frequency range will determine in part your treatment and how that hearing loss will impact your daily life. Talk to your hearing health professional to ensure you understand the specifics of your diagnosis. They can help you understand how to make dealing with everyday tasks, such as using the phone or going to the movies, easier and more enjoyable with proper treatment and tools.
Technology Can Help
Today more than ever before, technology can play a big part in the effective treatment of hearing loss. Hearing aid technology has advanced significantly in the past decade, incorporating technology used in cell phones and other communication tools, often embedding that technology in the hearing aid itself.
One option, the cochlear implant, is a significant technological advance for certain types of hearing loss. These instruments bypass damaged cells in the ear, and send auditory signals directly to the auditory nerve, restoring hearing in a way that was impossible just a little over a generation ago.
Both treatment options are designed to improve or, in some way restore, the hearing of someone with hearing loss. However, there are many other areas where technology can be a key component of a comprehensive and effective treatment plan.
For example, wireless, amplified TV listening devices allow someone to better hear the TV without driving a spouse or loved one out of the room with excessive volume. Captioned telephones, such as those from New Jersey CapTel allow for more confident and independent use of the phone.
Even something as simple as a vibrating alarm clock placed under your pillow can make a difference and help someone with hearing loss in their day-to-day life.
In summary, when you are presented with a diagnosis of hearing loss, make certain you consult with your medical professional on the specifics of that diagnosis. Have a discussion about development of a treatment plan that includes all aspects of treatment and addresses the many ways you will experience that hearing loss on a daily basis.
Best of all, know you are not alone. There are many people who share your diagnosis, and there are many organizations that are available to provide support and guidance. We have listed a few of them here, but you may also want to look for local chapters of these organizations and online support groups as well.
HLAA has put together a good article on this subject
Healthy Hearing has a great overview and considerations for questions about an initial diagnosis of hearing loss
A great resource for parents assembled by Audiology Online
An in depth at hearing loss causes and treatments by eMedicinehealth.com
The Mayo Clinic has a complete guide to hearing loss
Posted by NJAdmin on Mar 22, 2018