Social Impact of Hearing Loss - A guide to Hearing Loss
No-one likes to think of themselves losing their hearing but it happens to a great many of us, especially as we get older. Age-related hearing loss is very common and usually accepted as one of the unfortunate aspects of the ageing process.
But what happens if you suffer hearing loss when young? This can be harder to deal with we tend to assume it is something which happens to older people. And being young we sometimes think we are immortal. But, hearing loss affects thousands of people, from very young through to very old. The extent of the problem and the causes vary between individuals so your form of hearing loss will differ from someone else’s. One person might lose their hearing slowly and over a long period of time whereas another person may find that this seems to have happened overnight. If you experience sudden onset hearing loss such as sensorineural hearing loss then contact your GP as soon as you can. This is vital to prevent any further damage or the risk of it leading to permanent deafness.
Signs of hearing loss
It can sometimes be the case that the person with the hearing problem is the last to know. You may have a mild or moderate form of hearing loss but it is others around you, such as your family or friends who have noticed this problem.
They may have noticed that you can’t hear certain words, struggle to follow a conversation or are constantly saying ‘pardon?’You may be asking people to repeat a sentence more than once or have started to turn the volume up on the television or the radio. People may have noticed that you are forgetting important dates, events of occasions because you haven’t heard properly or have misheard the exact dates and times of these. And this can be especially problematic if this happens at work.
If you are turning up late for work because you can’t hear your alarm or are missing out on seeing people due to the fact that you cannot hear the doorbell then you do have a problem.
Does this sound familiar? Have you find yourself doing any of these or withdrawing from conversations because you find it frustrating to take part?
You may feel embarrassed at asking people to repeat themselves or fed up with not being able to follow a conversation. And what doesn’t help is if people become impatient or annoyed at having to do so. It may be frustrating for other people but even more so for you. You might have found yourself misunderstanding a conversation or completely missing the gist of what was being said due to your hearing loss.
It isn’t easy admitting that you are hard of hearing or that you have some form of hearing loss but if you do mention it to people then you will find that many people are sympathetic and helpful once they realise the situation. This especially applies if they are your family and friends. It is not something to be ashamed of and there is a wide range of treatment available which can help to deal with the problem and return their hearing to normal. The worst case scenario is that it prevents further hearing loss. On the other hand, if you are a friend of someone in this position or know someone with hearing loss then it is a case of mentioning this to them in a tactful way and encourage them to do something about it.
Offer to accompany them to their GP and reassure them about any fears that they may have. In regard to treatment: one common worry is that of having to wear a hearing aid as people think of the old style aids which were highly visible and awkward to wear. But technology has moved on and today’s hearing aids are much more discreet and comfortable. Learn more about hearing aids in our hearing loss treatments section.