by Neil Bauman, Ph.D.
A man explained:
Almost 5 years ago I suffered from Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss in my right ear. I have been told that it was the result of a virus and at present no help exists.
I have found some help with the use of a behind-the-ear hearing aid in my right ear and a completely-in-canal hearing aid for the left ear, but I need more help. What should I do?
When your doctor said “no help exists” he really meant that no medical help exists. This is true since too much time has gone by since this hearing loss occurred. However, that doesn’t mean that there is no help. On the contrary, there is help available. What you need is help in learning how to successfully live with your hearing loss. One great resource is the book “Help! I’m Losing My Hearing—What Do I Do Now?”
As you have already discovered, hearing aids are not the whole answer to hearing loss. Yes, they do help in many situations, but they are not the whole answer.
In fact, there are 5 areas you need to address in order to successfully cope with your hearing loss. Hearing aids are just one of the five. Too many people think hearing aids are all they need. This is just not so.
The five areas you need to address in order to successfully live with your hearing loss are:
1. Psychologically adjust to your hearing loss. This includes working through the grieving process in relation to your hearing loss. (If you don’t do this, you are not even ready to wear hearing aids—and likely won’t.) The grieving process is explained in the short book “Grieving for Your Hearing Loss—the Rocky Road from Denial to Acceptance“. This book has helped many people deal with their hearing loss.
2. Wear properly-fitted hearing aids. The emphasis here is on “properly-fitted” hearing aids. So often, people do not wear their hearing aids because they are not properly adjusted to their specific hearing needs.
3. Use assistive (and alerting) devices to supplement your hearing aids. There are many, many of these devices—ranging from amplified telephones, to loop systems and personal amplifiers, to doorbells that flash red lights in your house, to simple things such as turning on the closed captioning on your TV so you can read the words you don’t hear. You can learn about some of these wonderful devices here.
4. Practice Speechreading (lipreading) all the time. The easiest way to do this is to always watch peoples faces when they are speaking. There is also an excellent CD,called “Seeing and Hearing Speech” that will really help you with improving your speechreading abilities.
5. Use the many coping strategies available to you in most situations such as get closer to the speaker, cut out background noise as much as possible, have the speaker face you and have adequate light on his face, etc. The short book, “Talking with Hard of Hearing People—Here’s How to Do It Right” explains many of these simple and free techniques that make life so much easier.
Using all 5 together greatly improves your ability to communicate with other people with the least stress and strain to you. I know. I use them all the time.