The latest statistics indicate that nearly 40 million adults in the United States experience hearing loss. That number is expected to increase by 30 million in the next four decades.
One of our specialties at Silicon Valley ENT & Sinus Center in Los Gatos, California, is diagnosing and treating hearing loss. Our team, led by Dr. Phillip Ho, understands the frustrations that occur when you or a loved one is struggling to hear.
We’re happy to provide information about helping a loved one overcome the challenges of hearing loss. Consider these practical tips.
There are three types of hearing loss: sensorineural, conductive, and mixed. The causes and treatments for each vary. Understanding the basics can help as you help your loved one overcome the challenges they face.
For instance, sensorineural hearing loss is the most common type. It involves the inner ear and may be due to aging, exposure to loud noises, or a traumatic injury. Because it can’t be remedied with surgery or medication, hearing aids or other assistive devices are used.
While these devices greatly improve the ability to hear, they can come with issues for the wearers, who might feel stigmatized by them. By learning more about hearing aids, you can help your loved one adjust to their use.
At Silicon Valley ENT & Sinus Center, Dr. Ho completes a thorough evaluation to diagnose the type and level of hearing loss your loved one is experiencing. He then develops a treatment strategy based on individual needs.
Numerous assistive listening devices and apps available today can help those with hearing loss. Devices like amplified phones, hearing loops, or even captioned phones can be invaluable in maintaining independence and a healthy connection to the world.
If a hearing evaluation indicates the need for hearing aids, encourage your loved one to pursue their options. Our team typically recommends a professional consultation with a certified audiologist since there are many models and styles available that can be customized to meet specific needs.
Once your loved one receives hearing aids, encourage their consistent use. It takes time to adjust to hearing aids, but they can significantly improve quality of life.
Because hearing loss can progress over time, it’s also essential to maintain regular follow-up appointments with Dr. Ho and the audiologist to ensure they’re getting the best possible care and advice.
Hearing loss can be an isolating experience, straining relationships, impacting social engagement, and diminishing the overall quality of life.
You can help by including your loved one in group activities and conversations. When planning outings, choose quieter places with good acoustics, making it easier for your loved one to engage in conversation.
When conversing, be patient and give them time to process and respond. Face them when speaking, allowing them to read your lips, facial expressions, and body language. Turn off background noises like the television or radio.
Check your own communication style and avoid speaking too rapidly or mumbling. There’s also no need to shout. Instead, speak clearly and naturally at a normal volume, but enunciate your words more clearly. If they don’t understand something you said, try rephrasing it instead of repeating the same words.
Take the initiative to educate friends and family about the best ways to communicate with someone with hearing loss. The more people understand, the easier it will be for your loved one.
With an accurate diagnosis and treatment that meets their needs, your loved one can continue an active and fulfilling life despite difficulty hearing.
For more information about hearing loss, schedule an evaluation at Silicon Valley ENT & Sinus today. Call the office or request an appointment online.