Seeing hearing loss as a disability works like quicksand to keep you stuck in the mire without any solutions to fix the problems in your personal and business life. A loss of hearing is a challenge — something you must first recognize before trying to move forward.
To win back control over your life, you need to identify the changes as they happen. Maybe for you it’s tinnitus, a battle to figure out what words are missing in the conversation or finding a way to communicate better with others. IIt’s believed that over 48 million people in the U.S. have some type of hearing loss. If you find that you are one of them, what can you do to triumph over it?
What Causes Hearing Loss?
Learning about your specific problem is where you should start. There are many things that can lead to hearing loss. Often individuals dealing with a slow decrease of their hearing have presbycusis, a condition associated with aging. Presbycusis is the natural decline of the critical nerve cells in the inner ear stemming from years of abuse.
Presbycusis is one of the most common forms, but not the only possible culprit. Disease, for example, often damages the small mechanisms of the ear, rendering them ineffective. Medications can also have an impact on the inner ears. For some, the hearing issue stems from a congenital defect or genetic condition.
Lifestyle plays a vital role in hearing health for most of us, exposing us to a lifetime of ear-damaging noise. Everything from headphones kids wear when playing their favorite online game or listening to music to noisy environments. Loud sounds are one of the biggest culprits when it comes to gradual hearing loss.
For those with a gradual decrease in hearing, it’s time to determine what you can do now to slow the progression. Write down all the things that might contribute to your condition like headphones, earbuds and Saturday nights listening to live music. Lose the headphones and earbuds and wear some protection on your nights out. It’s a simple fix that can make all the difference in your future ear health.
Next, schedule an appointment with a doctor for an exam and hearing test. Your hearing loss might be a symptom of a severe illness like high blood pressure or diabetes. The exam will also rule out a temporary problem like earwax blockage or infection. A professional hearing test will mark your current hearing status and provide a baseline to measure any future decline.
For some individuals experiencing a change in their hearing, the biggest battle is the ringing or clicking sound that comes with many forms of hearing loss. Tinnitus is phantom noises that can be irritating enough to keep you up at night. It presents as:
To master this challenge, you must learn ways to filter out the sounds. White noise machines are helpful at night, and hearing aids work best during the day. Some people also have luck with meditation that trains the brain to wander away from the sound.
Find Your Personal Triumph Strategy
The truth is no two people with hearing loss experience the same challenges. It’s essential to break down your personal ones first and then look for solutions. It’s the little things that matter most when it comes to improving your communication skills, for example. Try standing in front of anyone you are talking to instead of to the side. That focuses the waves of sound coming from their mouth, so it enters the ear canals at almost full force.
Remember to give your ears a break once in awhile, too. The struggle to hear is tiring, so isolating yourself in a quiet place for even five minutes can have an impact on your ability to comprehend words.
Take advantage of any tools available, too. For many people, this means assistive technology like hearing aids and home safety devices such as smoke alarms that cause the lights to blink and shake the bed.
The best tool at your disposal, though, is your ability to communicate with others even as you struggle to hear what they say to you. Talk to the people in your life and tell them what is going on. The most effective way to triumph over a hearing loss is to see it for what it is — a challenge and then develop a strategy to meet it head-on.