Are you in DENIAL about Hearing Loss?

Denial about Hearing Loss is very common!

Are you struggling to hear clearly? Do you find yourself asking people to repeat themselves because you believe they are mumbling?  Is it difficult to hear in a restaurant or riding in a car? Are you struggling to hear the sermon at church or a speaker during a presentation?  Many of us are missing out on important parts of a conversation, constantly trying to fill in the blanks.  Are you in denial about hearing loss?

Many of us are in a state of denial about our hearing loss and it is very common.  Most hearing loss is very gradual so it can go unnoticed for a long time.  We miss the clues and deny the facts.  We can’t see or feel hearing loss.  Yet, hearing is one of our most important senses.   It keeps us connected socially – or not.  It is important to our employment, yet we are afraid to say anything for fear of retribution or loss of a job.  It is important to our safety and well-being to hear sirens, horns or impending danger.

When did eye glasses become ok but not hearing aids?  We’ll spend several thousand dollars to have our eyes fixed with a laser, but we are reluctant to spend the same to improve our hearing.  The bad part about denial of your hearing loss is that your brain actually forgets the sounds you used to hear and now do not.  The longer this goes on, the harder it is for the brain to relearn these sounds when you are finally fit with a hearing aid.  Relate this to your brain adjusting to new bi-focals or tri-focals in your glasses or contacts.  It can be unnerving and actually painful when sounds are brought back into your life until the brain adjusts.  Some people quit using their hearing aids for this reason!  Sure, hearing aids are not perfect and do not “cure” hearing loss any more than glasses cure vision loss, but they are a step toward maintaining quality of life.

With the Baby Boomers making up about 1/3 of the hard of hearing population in the US, hearing loss is becoming more common in conversation.  Access for the hard of hearing in many private and public venues is becoming an issue.  New revised ADA standards effective 3/15/12 clearly mandate that all public venues of any size with a sound system must provide assistive listening devices.  Hearing loops are the favored system by many and loops are becoming more common in the US.  Grass roots initiatives are gaining ground in many states including Colorado, Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Michigan, Wisconsin, New York, Florida, New Mexico and Arizona.

Advocacy for hearing access is on the rise after being shoved under the carpet for many years.  We at Assist2Hear are trying to do our part in promoting access for the hard of hearing and educating the public and hearing professionals about what is available to help the hard of hearing, most notably induction hearing loops.

Are you ready to acknowledge your hearing loss and do something about it?  Please visit your local audiologist for a hearing screening and make sure to bring a friend or family member to check theirs as well!

Ten Misconceptions about People with Hearing Loss

This article was written originally at the request of a corporation that wanted to use it as a training tool for its staff. An informal survey of people with hearing loss quickly revealed that there were many misconceptions that were particularly upsetting and frustrating. This issue became the topic of conversation at meetings across the country. While this list says “Ten Misconceptions,” there are many more. This is just a starting point for a conversation.

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Quick Facts About Hearing Loss

It’s estimated that between 36 and 50 million Americans have hearing loss.  Most hearing loss can be treated with hearing aids, although only 25%-30% currently use them.

According to statistics provided by the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), here are some facts about hearing loss:

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Hearing Loss Types, Causes, Conditions, and Disorders

If you’re experiencing hearing loss, you’re likely not the only one among your friends, family, neighbors and coworkers. Nearly two in 10 (17%) Americans experiences some form of impaired hearing. And while commercials and print advertisements are often geared toward the elderly, the reality is that there are more baby boomers (those between 45 and 64) with hearing impairments than seniors! But while your hearing may get worse as you age, getting older isn’t necessarily the cause. So what is?

What types of hearing loss are there? What causes them?

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Treatments and Devices

Cochlear Implants

A cochlear implant is a tiny two-part device that helps deaf or hard-of-hearing people hear. One part is placed behind the ear and a second half is surgically placed under the skin near the ear.

The implant consists of a microphone, a transmitter/receiver, a speech processor and an electrode ray.

Unlike a hearing aid, which simply amplifies sounds, a cochlear implant bypasses the parts of the ear that are damaged and instead stimulates the auditory nerve. The brain interprets the signals as sounds.

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