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You are not alone. Help is available.
When someone has a hearing loss, the first step in coping with it is simply acknowledging its reality. This may not be easy to do, but you can’t take effective measures to minimize the impact of a hearing loss if you deny it.
This does not mean that you have to like it. But once diagnosed as having a hearing loss, then it’s time to move on.
There is More to Hearing Loss than Just a Hearing Aid
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Hearing Loss Association of America
Listening and Spoken Language Knowledge Center
Statistics sources: National Information Center on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, National Institutes of Health, National Council on Aging, and the MarkeTrak VIII Study by Sergei Kochkin, Ph.D.
Things to Know about Hearing Loss
The appropriately selected hearing aid is often the most effective therapeutic measure for an individual with hearing loss. However, the process of selecting a hearing aid can sometimes seem daunting.
Know what questions to ask when you’re purchasing hearing aids. Ask what consumer protection laws are available in your state; what the trial period for hearing aids are, and ask about technologies in addition to your hearing aids that are available to make the most of your hearing aids.
Obtain appropriate, well-fitted hearing aids through a certified hearing professional. Professionals who dispense hearing aids include audiologists, hearing aid specialists and ear, nose and throat doctors. Hearing aids are necessary and an important first step in treating hearing loss. Hearing aids are not like glasses they do not correct hearing, but they are helpful in improving hearing and quality of life.
Read more about hearing aids.
Cochlear implants are medical devices that bypass damaged structures in the inner ear and directly stimulate the auditory nerve. They are surgically implanted to improve hearing in people with severe or profound hearing losses. They can create a range of sound, but do not replace normal hearing.
Cochlear implants are not recommended for all hard of hearing or deaf people. They are not recommended for people who function well with hearing aids.
To be considered for a cochlear implant, you will need to receive an evaluation by a physician and audiologist associated with a cochlear implant clinic.
Read more about cochlear implants.
Hearing Assistive Technology (HAT)
Assistive listening devices (ALDs) expand the functionality of hearing aids and cochlear implants by helping you separate the sounds you want to hear from background noise, and by enabling you to hear when the speaker is more than a few feet away.
Use assistive listening systems provided in many public places. The Americans with Disabilities Actrequires most public venues to provide them. You will enjoy a movie or the theater more if you can hear what’s going on!
Be sure that you can effectively engage in telephone communication; if not, check with your hearing professional. Many alternatives, such as amplified phones and captioned phones systems, are available.
Be sure that you can hear the smoke and carbon monoxide. The typical ones emit a high-frequency tone that is difficult for people with hearing loss to hear, particularly when sleeping. There are systems that emit a low-frequency sound, or use strobe lights or a vibrator as an alerting system. An effective smoke alarm system can be a life saver.
Basic Communication Tips
In the meantime there are simple things you can do to hear better with or without hearing aids. Communication is a two-way street. Here are tips for the person who hears well, and for the person who has the hearing loss:
Tips for Hearing Person to Communicate with Person who has a Hearing Loss
Set Your Stage
Set Your Stage
Do Your Part
Establish Empathy with Audience
Emergency Preparedness for People with Hearing Loss
Being prepared for an emergency isn’t complex. It’s simply a matter of thinking ahead and gathering what you need well before an emergency occurs. Emergency preparedness is the gift you give to yourself and to those you love the most.
Disaster preparation means taking a look to see what disasters might occur locally and providing a reasonable preparation for that disaster. You can’t stop disasters from happening, but you can have the resources available to prepare and respond appropriately so that the damage it inflicts isn’t catastrophic.
But What if I have a Hearing Loss?
You’re in luck. Within the last decade, there was little information available for people with disabilities in general, and even less for people with hearing loss. Then Hurricane Katrina struck. Organizations stepped up to the plate to analyze what went wrong for people with disabilities and find ways to make disaster preparedness work better.
We see change in local communities that are making plans to include people with hearing loss in their disaster plans. Communities have policies in place to accept people with disabilities, and even have plans for service dogs to remain with us when we enter mainstream shelters. We can see it on the federal level, with new material posted for people with disabilities on the FEMA website.
See the Emergencies pages under the Advocacy Section for laws, regulations and updates to emergency alerts.
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