Signs of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss can be able to manifest in various ways. Depending on the degree or even the severity of hearing loss, the symptoms can range from the occasional difficulty understanding of various words to the inability to be able to communicate with the others as well as the social isolation. While there are quite a few different types of the hearing loss as well as different causes, symptoms are similar irrespective of the type of cause.
Various common symptoms of the hearing loss:
⦁ Listening to the radio or television at a very high volume.
⦁ The perception that the other people are mumbling.
⦁ Difficulty when it comes to hearing people on phone.
⦁ Having trouble when it comes to understanding speech, this is especially in noisy environments.
⦁ Avoid social situations.
⦁ Most of the times you are asking people to repeat what they were saying.
or even ringing in the ears.
A certain degree of exhaustion after you have attended the social events. A most common type of the hearing loss is the sensorineural hearing, and this often results in the decreased ability to be able to hear high pitched sounds.
People who have a high-frequency hearing loss
mostly tend to misuse miss these sounds:
⦁ Car’s turn signal.
⦁ Beeping sounds on the timers and microwave ovens.
⦁ Female and young children’s voices.
⦁ There is a certain constant which sounds like Sh, s, v, f, the, f, p which makes it difficult to be able to understand some words.
Temporary vs. the Permanent hearing loss
Temporary hearing loss is usually caused by exposure to the loud noises. This includes attending various concerts, fireworks, gunshots or occupational exposure. So what characterizes Temporary hearing loss? Well, temporary hearing loss is majorly characterized by the Temporary Threshold Shift, and mostly, it is normally accompanied by the tinnitus. It can be able to last for a few hours or even several days before the hearing returns to normal. This means the hearing loss disappears.
If you get exposed to the loud noises often, ears have quite a hard time getting to recover from the TTS after every occurrence, and the hearing loss can go on to become permanent. Unlike the temporary hearing loss, when it comes to the permanent hearing loss, it can never be reversed. It normally involves damage to auditory nerves or even tiny hair cells of the inner ear. For a large portion of permanent hearing losses, the best solution is usually well-fitted hearing aids. They are going to help you to be able to communicate effectively with the people around you.
Symptoms of the hearing loss in children.
Hearing loss when it comes to children can be detected with aid of a newborn infant getting to hear screening immediately after birth. The Acute parents will also detect hearing loss in the child. Here are some symptoms of hearing the loss in children:
⦁ Behavioral problems in the schools.
⦁ Learning disability diagnosis.
⦁ A child cannot be able to localize sound.
⦁ Delay in the speech as well as language development.
⦁ Poor performance in school.
⦁ The child does not startle even when a loud sound is available.
You may be thinking that the hearing loss will be obvious to be identified. Well, it is not as easy as you may think. To start, people with hearing loss got problems got only problems with the specific sounds and in the specified scenarios. Later on, you can be able to hear normally on various occasions you are going to tend to pin the blame on the other factors or even people for the various occasions you have problems hearing.
It is very important to note that hearing loss usually occurs slowly over the years. Hence it is very difficult to be able to detect slow progression. It is very much convenient to go on and blame it on the other people for mumbling or even go on to turn the volume a bit higher. It becomes quite difficult to be able to admit that one has some hearing problems.
Therefore, signs, as well as symptoms, can be quite subtle. You will need to understand what you need to watch for and while it is also convenient to be able to reject the fact that you have some hearing problems, it is also important to be honest with yourself that you do have some warning signs which needs to be addressed before the matter can deteriorate any further. Here are the top signs of hearing loss:
⦁ Experiencing ringing in ears
: this can be an indication of the permanent hearing damage. The hearing aids can’t only make it very easier to hear much better but also be able to alleviate ringing in the ears.
⦁ Not able to hear the normal household sounds: When you have hearing loss, it can be very hard to be able to hear the doorbell, phone ringing or even another person shouting.
⦁ Have trouble comprehending Television dialogue: Speech is difficult to hear compared to the other kinds of sound. Normally, this shows itself when you find yourself having difficulties to follow a move or even the television show plots.
⦁ Have the cell phone, Television or even radio at very high volume: If you can be able to hear Television, radio or phone much better than you can hear personal conversations, ensure that you check out volume settings on the technology. You may have the volume of these gadgets very high which may make you think that everyone is speaking at very low volumes.
⦁ Often you ask to repeat themselves: Most of the time you are going to find yourself saying often. You will ask people to repeat themselves much often especially when you are not facing towards them.
⦁ Misconstrue what the other people are saying: the constants are very high pitched and hence it is very difficult to hear compared to the vowels. Getting to see constants communicate the meaning in the sentence as well as speech comprehension suffers.
⦁ Trouble hearing all words in conversation: there are some more challenging sounds as well as letters to hear than the others. This means you can be able to hear the majority of the words in the sentence. However, you must always try and fill the majority in the sentence.
Living With Hearing Loss
Technology and modernization are beautiful, aren’t they? The way they have helped make how we live so much better is beyond amazing. Never before have people with both mild and severe hearing loss been able to live a more normal life. Thanks to the employment of modern technology and trainable skills like lip reading, sign language and more, communicating has never been easier for people with this condition.
The ability to hear plays an important part in our everyday lives and how well we function around friends, colleagues, and relatives. The importance of seeking early treatment after the detection of possible hearing limitations can’t be overstated. Although it takes patients with hearing loss an average of 7-10 years to seek treatment. Failure to treat hearing loss can, however, cause a reduction in the quality of life, affect social life, and cause mental anguish.
The most common treatment for hearing loss is the use of hearing aids; however, hearing aids do not cure hearing loss. What it does is give the hearing impaired person a chance at normal life.
Before diving into how best to live with hearing loss, let’s briefly discuss the most common types of hearing loss.
⦁ Severe Hearing Loss
: This occurs when a person can’t hear without technological assistance.
⦁ Mild Hearing Loss: This means a person can still hear the speech of others without employing the use of technological assistance.
⦁ Conductive Hearing Loss: This is the inability of the middle or outer ear to conduct sound to the inner ear. This is usually a result of the presence of various factors like fluid build up, structural abnormalities, or excessive ear wax.
⦁ Sensorineural Hearing Loss: This type of hearing loss is permanent and is always a result of abnormality or damage to the hair cells in the inner ear. It can also be a problem of the auditory nerve.
There are several ways to live a good and fulfilled life with hearing loss, and some of them will be discussed as you read further.
Living Through Hearing Loss Technology
Gone are the days of big and uncomfortable hearing aids, cochlear implants, and herables. Hearing technologies are now very advanced and most are now very small, comfortable, and made to blend for easy integration into our everyday lives. These devices are now compatible with smartphones and computers. There are even waterproof models.
Visit HEARnet Online’s Guide Hearing Technologies for an overview of the best technologies available to help manage hearing loss.
Hearing aids amplify sounds for easier detection by the inner ear. There are many types of hearing aids:
⦁ Behind-the-ear hearing aids
: is made up of a plastic case worn behind the ear and an ear mold worn in the outer ear.
⦁ Open-fit hearing aids
: entirely worn behind the ear and has a narrow tube reaching into the ear canal.
⦁ In-the-ear hearing aids
: worn entirely inside the outer ear.
⦁ Canal hearing aids
: this type fits directly inside the ear canal.
Remember that hearing aids doesn’t necessarily cure people with hearing loss, what it does is give them a better chance at living a normal life. Craig Newman, Ph.D., Cleveland Clinic’s head of audiology said people tend to benefit more from using behind-the-ear hearing aids. He said this is because their programming is highly flexible and they have more power.
There are cases where the ear is too badly damaged and no amount of power will be enough for the inner ear to convert sounds into tangible signals. When this happens, such a patient is a candidate for a cochlear implant.
In cases of badly damaged hair cells, cochlear implants are needed to bypass these damaged hair cells of the inner ear. The cochlear implant will deliver pulses directly to the auditory nerve, which then transfers that signal to the brain.
It is important to note that these signals differ from normal hearing, but they are enough to recognize speech and other sounds.
Atcherson, an assistant professor of audiology and a fellow of the American Academy of Audiology, says it is important for people to be realistic with their expectations as it takes time for the brain to properly interpret these signals. Based on his personal experience, he said it took two years for music and sound to sound very clear to the point when he could use a cell phone.
The effectiveness of cochlear implants in both adults and children, especially the children depends on how quickly it was implanted. This is because when the hearing is still a bit good, the brain recognizes speech signals better than when there is severe hearing loss.
This directly drives the ossicles by implanting within the middle ear hence boosting sounds to the inner ear. The ossicles are three tiny bones that amplify and transmit sound signals to the inner ear. Middle-ear implants have its own advantages. It is especially good for people who do not want a visible hearing device. If you’re the discrete type, this is for you. It is also good for people with dermatologic conditions affecting the ear canal.
Bone-Conducting Hearing Aids
This is attached to the side of the head for people with poor hearing. Vibrations picked up through this side of the head travel through the skull to the normal ear.
Atcherson said research has shown an improvement in the quality of life after bone-conducting hearing aids.
Assistive Listening Devices
These devices are used to separate speech from background noises. We have several types:
⦁ Portable FM systems: broadcasts a speaker’s words directly to a hearing aid through the use of a radio.
⦁ Infrared systems: transmit sound through light-based technology.
⦁ Induction loop systems: are designed to aid hearing of announcements in public facilities.
Cell Phone Devices
Due to the advancement of technology, people with hearing loss can now enjoy phone conversations. Some mobile phones can now send signals to some types of hearing devices.
Lips Reading and Body Language
How can we forget the age-old communicating skill of reading lips and body language? It sounds crude but it is highly effective for people who have honed this skillset.
Atcherson said it is not only about reading lips but also about reading expressions, body language, and some other visual clues.
The importance of early detection and treatment of hearing loss can’t be overstated. Most of these devices even work best when the hearing loss in a mild state. Plus it gives you time to properly prepare yourself and get used to the condition rather than leaving it for a later time.
A report in 2005 by "Listen Hear! Report", stats that one in every six Australians has some kind of hearing loss. This number is expected to increase by 2050.
But hearing loss shouldn’t be the end of the world, rather it should be the beginning of a new journey and there are several communities and organizations who want to help you through this problem. Some can even be found online on social networks.
Effective Communication Strategies for Those Living With Hearing Loss
The World Health Organization states that around 466 million people have disabling hearing loss worldwide. That’s over 5% of the world’s population. You may be one of these people and you find it hard to communicate well during conversations. We will look at some communication strategies that can help you communicate effectively. These strategies will improve your communication as soon as you start using them but you need constant practice to achieve mastery in your communication skills. Let’s take a look at these strategies.
⦁ Let people know about your hearing loss
Always let people know that you have a hearing difficulty and tell them how they can help you. If people know about your problem, they will be more likely to look directly at you while speaking. They will try to speak clearly when addressing you without having to shout. Letting people know about your hearing loss will reduce misunderstandings in the conversation. The other person won’t feel offended if you fail to respond or respond inappropriately.
⦁ Work on your concentration skills
You may have been used to tuning out during conversations because of your hearing loss. You need to start trying to improve your listening ability by paying closer attention to the person talking. Instead of looking down when the person is talking, look at his face. Keep your mind on what is being discussed and try to follow even if you miss a few words. Try to remain calm if you miss a few words or phrases. If you get tense it will make it more difficult for you to catch up with what has been said. Also, learn to focus on the theme of the conversation instead of trying to hear every single word. You can fit in any words you missed if you understand the general context of the conversation.
⦁ Use hearing aid technology
Hearing aids are amplification devices that can help your hearing difficulty. It is recommended that you get them if you can and when you do, wear them always. You can get them from a hearing healthcare professional. You can get a cochlear implant if your hearing aids become ineffective. This will be determined by your hearing aid professional.
⦁ Prepare yourself for different situations
Try to imagine yourself in different listening situations especially difficult ones and plan ahead. You can go to the venue of a meeting early and get familiar with the setting. You can choose to sit in a spot far away from any potential source of noise that could make hearing difficult for you. You can choose the middle of the room where you will have visual access to most people's faces. You can also get and read the agenda and review the names of delegates before the meeting. This preparation helps you minimize listening difficulties when you come for the actual event.
⦁ Ask for clarification
When you need the speaker to clarify what is being said, you can politely ask him to repeat the sentence or phrase more slowly, rephrase what he or she has said or spell a word used in the conversation. This will help you to follow the conversation smoothly.
⦁ Know the source of your difficulty
You may have difficulty hearing certain persons when they speak. Try to find out why you are having difficulties with that particular person. You can then politely ask the person to make some adjustments in their speech so that you can follow the conversation. If the person has a soft voice you can ask him or her to speak a little bit louder. If the person speaks too fast, you can ask him to slow down so that you can keep up with what is being said. If the person is talking to you with his face turned the other way, you can politely ask him to face you while he speaks so that you can follow the conversation.
⦁ Confirm what you heard
Confirm what is being said if you have any doubt about what you think you heard. Try to summarize what you think you heard so the speaker can confirm or explain again if necessary. This will help you make sure that you understood the message correctly and save you from embarrassment and misunderstandings.
⦁ Show assertiveness
Let people know how they can help you hear well. Let the person who you are communicating with know what he needs to do to make the conversation flow more easily. Most people will be happy to help you if they understand what they need to do. You can ask your communication partners to face you directly when speaking or to speak up if their voice is too soft. Sometimes it might be best to postpone a conversation if you are too tired or distracted. If you feel that the room is too noisy, ask to move to a less noisy area before holding the conversation.
⦁ Use visual cues
Pick up visual cues on the speakers’ face when he is talking. Keep a clear view of the speaker’s face and try to figure out what he said by reading his lips. If you practice this often, you will be able to read people’s lips easily and pick what is being said. People’s facial expressions can also help you understand what is being said.
⦁ Feel free to ask for help
There are situations where you may miss what is being said. This can happen in a crowded place. Don’t be afraid to walk up to someone and ask for clarification on what is been said especially if an announcement is being made. If you do this politely, you will get the help you need.
Having a hearing difficulty can be a big challenge and you may feel discouraged if you are always getting into difficult situations. You have to be patient with yourself and with others around you. Just keep practicing the tips provided here and stay positive at all times. This will get you through the difficult situations.