Thursday, April 17, 2014

Does hearing loss affect more than your ability to hear?



Yes, hearing can affect more than your ability to communicate with family, friends, shop clerks, physicians, servers and so many more people.  It impacts cognitive, social, emotional and physical aspects of daily life.  


Sharing in conversation, discussing new topics even having a healthy disagreement on a topic stimulates thought.  This in return stimulates the brain.  Just like working crossword puzzles is healthy for your brain, so is having a lively conversation sharing thoughts and ideas.  


Untreated hearing loss causes withdrawal and isolation from social situations. It limits your desire to dine out, visit with friends, and engage in family gatherings, negatively impacting relationships.  The loss of social interactions and intimacy in relationships limits daily life.  Sadness, depression even anger and frustration can result.  


Physically health is affected in two ways.  Untreated hearing loss can be tiring causing fatigue, increased stress and sometimes headaches. Those who use hearing aids are more physically active aiding overall health. 


Treating hearing loss increases independence in daily life activities.  Hearing aid use reduces anger and frustration in relationships, depression, anxiety and self criticism.  It also improves earning power, physical health, social participation, intimacy and warmth in relationships and emotional stability.  


Hearing well impacts every aspect of daily life.  It is important to treat hearing loss as soon as possible.  



Life sounds great!  Enjoy every moment!


8897 Mentor Ave
Mentor, Ohio 44060
440-205-8848
Fax: 440-205-9818


Image obtained 4-8-14 at: http://www.stankcheese.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/doctor-appointment.jpg

Thursday, April 10, 2014

How do you talk to someone with a hearing loss?



This is a question we are asked quite frequently.  It is very important to recognize that the person with hearing loss is going to require some special attention in order to communicate.  Most importantly, be sure to speak face to face.  Individuals with hearing loss, even if wearing hearing aids, depend a great deal on facial expression and lip movements to fully understand what is being said.  Speaking with a mouth full of food or chewing gum makes lip reading very difficult.  Also, being in the same room is paramount.  It is not possible to carry on a satisfactory conversation from a different room, with the dishwasher running, the fan going or the television set on.  

Speaking in a clear, distinct voice is most effective, particularly when speaking face to face or on the telephone. This method of communication allows the person with the hearing loss to understand enough words to realize what you are trying to communicate.  It is not necessary to raise your voice or “yell”.  If you raise your voice, your facial expression changes and it would appear that you are upset or angry. In the event it is necessary to repeat, make an attempt to restate what you have said, not word for word, but in general.  This will help the person with hearing loss to gain more information with each repetition.  

Noisy environments are particularly challenging for those with hearing loss.  Make attempts to find settings away from air conditioners, running water, entryways, speakers and the restaurant kitchen.  If seated in a restaurant, be sure to find a quiet location and sit across the table from the person with hearing loss.  

Hearing aids do not restore hearing to normal.  They are very helpful in improving the ability to communicate, but it is necessary for everyone to contribute toward a successful conversational situation.  The person with hearing loss needs to advocate for themselves.  Family, friends and co-workers must be told what is needed to help improve communication.  Hearing loss is an invisible disability and it is easy to forget someone has a hearing loss. 


Life sounds great!  Enjoy every moment!


8897 Mentor Ave
Mentor, Ohio 44060
440-205-8848
Fax: 440-205-9818


Image obtained 4-8-14 at: http://tx.english-ch.com/teacher/trina/level-a/talking-to-strangers/

Friday, March 21, 2014

First steps to good hearing care



Having a hearing evaluation by an audiologist, is the first step.  Many people go through life simply “living with” hearing loss, never recognizing there are solutions readily available!  Diagnostic hearing testing will identify the nature and degree of your hearing and understanding problems.  Following the complete testing, recommendations for treatment will be made.

Ear Wax Illustration
The second step, treatment, may be as simple as the removal of excess earwax.  If necessary, a referral for medical treatment will be made.  Sensorineural hearing loss will cause speech to be difficult to understand, even if the volume of sound appears to be adequate. Recommendations may include hearing aids, listening therapy, and use of assistive listening devices and the support of counseling. 

Hearing aids provide the amplification of sound.  Digital technology allows the flexibility to cater to our individual lifestyles and needs.  Miniature behind the ear instruments (receiver in the canal aids) are now available and are practically invisible.  Several options include directional microphones, multiple programs and automatic programming, volume control and telephone switches.  We are now able to offer extended wear (Lyric) hearing instruments, also.

Assistive listening devices can make the activities of daily living more accessible.  Amplified telephones, vibrating alarm clocks, alerting doorbells and wireless TV amplifiers provide additional sound awareness.

The psychological impact of hearing loss should not be overlooked.  Often denial of the hearing loss leads to frustration, exhaustion, isolation and even depression.  The importance of seeking help for hearing loss cannot be emphasized enough!  

Life sounds great!  Enjoy every moment!


8897 Mentor Ave
Mentor, Ohio 44060
440-205-8848
Fax: 440-205-9818



 Image obtained 3-21-14 at: http://www.medicinenet.com/ear_wax/article.htm

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Why do people deny having hearing loss?



Your question reminds me of a patient I recently saw.  He refused to wear his hearing aids at work.  When I asked why, he responded that he didn’t want the guys to make fun of him.  This raised two questions in my mind. 


First, would the guys at work really make fun of him?  I think not.  Most people aren’t going to make fun of someone’s health issues. There might be a little bit of good hearted ribbing.  But mostly, few if any will notice hearing aids.  Hearing aids are small, discreet and well camouflaged.  Typically, if someone sees them, they are impressed by the aids.  


Second, you can’t hide hearing loss from others.  People know when you don’t hear or mishear.  If he has a co-worker who would make fun of someone with hearing aids, then he is likely making fun of him already for not hearing well.  Wearing hearing aids will help, especially at work. Those with untreated hearing loss earn on the average $20,000 less per year than those who use hearing aids.  Further, if someone is mishearing or misses information all together, it leaves the impression that they are slow and/or stuck up.  These are good reasons to use hearing aids especially at work.


This case is a good example of how the stigma of hearing loss actually is a self-stigma. Self-stigma is self inflicted.  A self-stigma threatens one’s perception of self.  The stigma exists because the person with hearing loss feels misplaced shame, low self-esteem or even depression.  These feelings create a desire to hide hearing loss. The desire to hide it leads to denial and blaming others for mumbling or for having a soft voice. 


The first step to getting past self-stigma is being honest with one’s self, and recognizing and accepting hearing loss.  Become informed on the impact of untreated hearing loss; the loss of self-confidence, decreased earning potential, decreased intimacy, decreased overall health, the impression you leave when you don't hear or mishear and more.  Understanding the many ways hearing impacts life can be a motivator to seek help. 
  

Life sounds great!  Enjoy every moment!


8897 Mentor Ave
Mentor, Ohio 44060
440-205-8848
Fax: 440-205-9818



Image obtained 2-21-14 at: http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.pae300.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/recognising-hearing-loss.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.pae300.com/hearing-loss-stigma-and-how-to-avoid-it/&h=354&w=690&sz=54&tbnid=D440LIVlPK6DaM:&tbnh=90&tbnw=175&zoom=1&usg=__XjS9S-ymAuWNHV81KANR9n-PDNU=&docid=M2SuH0KgWvmEIM&sa=X&ei=kMMHU5zDAuGdyQHX7YHIDg&ved=0CDAQ9QEwAg


Thursday, March 6, 2014

Can hearing loss cause someone to withdraw from family and friends?



This is a topic we address quite frequently. Yes, withdrawal from communication interaction is often directly related to hearing loss.  Hearing loss can have a significant impact on our emotional, physical and mental well being. Those with hearing loss are likely to experience a number of negative emotions.  Often, the frustration and embarrassment of being unable to hear and understand conversation may lead to withdrawal (retreating into the background) and isolation from social situations. 


Concentration and active listening can also be very tiring, contributing to fatigue.  This becomes a vicious cycle:  If we are fatigued, it is difficult to pay attention, which results in understanding even less of what is being said, causing anxiety and physical tension.  This type of exhaustion can often lead to depression.


The first step is recognizing a loved one is beginning to withdraw from social interaction. This is an indication he/she could be having trouble hearing.  A complete hearing assessment would answer questions regarding hearing and the benefit one can receive from the use of hearing aids.  It is important to recognize these other implications of hearing loss.  Schedule a complete Hearing Evaluation with an audiologist. 


Life sounds great!  Enjoy every moment!


8897 Mentor Ave
Mentor, Ohio 44060
440-205-8848
Fax: 440-205-9818



 Image obtained 2-7-14 at: http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-hJz15pvAcTg/UDQ6ISxIGnI/AAAAAAAAL6c/69HAQHTMXoA/s640/family%2Btalking.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.eatlivegrowpaleo.com/2012/08/what-is-paleo-diet-and-why-should-you.html&h=263&w=350&sz=43&tbnid=fQzWJa-PcRl0vM:&tbnh=95&tbnw=127&zoom=1&usg=__USzzZwXIQGGKitFzdUBeia3to2c=&docid=Qi-PlfBz453fVM&sa=X&ei=wQb1Urr4IYbeyAHp3ICgBA&ved=0CDAQ9QEwAg