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How to cope with having a hearing loss

How to cope with having a hearing loss
The change can be slight or very sudden, due to noise or age, can happen when we’re older or younger. Although hearing loss cannot be reversed, there are constant developments in technologies available. But other than accepting the help of a hearing aid, how can you cope with a developing, or already apparent hearing loss?

Take a break from the noise

When a hearing loss has started to develop, keeping up with noise and conversation around you can put a strain on your brain. You may start to feel tired more quickly than you would do if your hearing was in tip top condition.
It can feel disheartening and frustrating to have to try harder to hear those around you. To give yourself a chance, take a well-deserved break when you start to feel yourself getting tired.

Prepare yourself for listening

In our day to day lives, it is not uncommon to need to communicate with people around us. It’s best to be prepared for when that situation does arise.
  • Quieten the background noiseWhere possible, ask the person you’re talking to if you can find a quieter place you can talk. By eliminating background noise, your ears will be able to cope with listening to a specific person speak. 
  • Position yourself accordinglyWhen you’re facing the person you’re talking to there is a higher chance that you’ll be able to understand what they're saying. In Albert Mehrabian's Silent Messages: Implicit Communication of Emotions and Attitudes (1971), he claims that body language makes up 55% of communication, therefore being attentive to the body as well as their speech is important in understanding. 
  • Ask for help in othersWhen in doubt, don't be afraid or embarrassed to ask those speaking to you to speak more clearly.

Focus on what you can hear

Being able to focus on things other than your hearing loss is a great first step in the coping process.
When you think about the things you can hear—loved ones, music—and things you can appreciate—literature and nature—it can help to make you more feel more positive.

Find people in a similar situation

Peer groups are a great way to meet new people, make new friends and find the support you need. The advantages of peer groups are extended to those who are hard of hearing or deaf.
Being able to share stories, frustrations and advice with those who know how it feels can be empowering and make you feel more supported when dealing with a loss of hearing.

Seek help

Although having a hearing loss can feel isolating, there is help out there that can provide you with professional support and hearing care.
In many circumstances, the use of hearing aids is an excellent solution for a hearing loss, helping to amplify the sounds you wish to hear while minimising background noise. However, in other cases, the use of an assistive listening device is unnecessary. A loss of hearing can be due to earwax build up, an ear infection or many other reasons that can be easily treated.
In all of these cases, seeking out a hearing professional who can help with your hearing needs is a brilliant first step in gaining clearer hearing.
No matter the type or cause of your hearing loss, help is at hand when you need it.

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