It is a scary concept: you’re sitting at home watching T.V. or visiting a live music venue to see a band play, and something goes wrong. What started as a ringing in the ears has progressed into sounding like everything around you is underwater. Your hearing is there, but it’s muffled as though you have cotton wool in your ears, despite them being obvious. You try to sleep it off, but the sounds are all dulled in the following day too. Something is wrong with your hearing, so what do you do?
Frightening though it may be, there could be a straightforward explanation as to why you’re losing your hearing. Even if there isn’t a way to regain it, there is help at hand to ensure that you can still live your life in the way that you want, enjoying all five senses with just a few minimal adjustments. Here are some ideas on what to do if you suspect that you’re suffering from hearing loss.
The first thing to do is also the most obvious: you need a hearing test. You can’t self diagnose a hearing impairment, nor can you tell if your hearing will return as it was before. That’s the job of specialist caregivers known as audiologists. At this point, you have two options. You can visit your doctor’s office or healthcare provider, who will check your ears for any physical issues. If they’re unable to find the source of your discomfort, then they’ll refer you to a hearing specialist, which is the second of the two options.
Depending on your situation, you might want to forego the healthcare provider’s visit and visit an audiologist straight away. There are several hearing centers across all states (you can find one easily with a quick online search of “hearing centers near me“), and most of them are run by Hearing Health USA. Here, you’ll find a group of audiologists and hearing healthcare specialists. They can perform a hearing test and get to the bottom of why your surroundings aren’t sounding as they should. If they believe that further treatment is required, such as a hearing aid to ensure better hearing or that you have a chronic condition and thus require a few more visits to the clinic, then they’ll diagnose and continue care.
The best part about Hearing Health USA is their lack of bias. They have no ties to any hearing aid manufacturer, so if you’re prescribed a particular treatment for better hearing, you can rest assured that it’s the right treatment for you.
Depending on your state or the new administration’s strategy in combatting the coronavirus outbreak, you might not be allowed to enter a hearing clinic or a doctor’s office physically. However, as a compromise to this, many healthcare providers help retain easy access to patient care through telemedicine (also known as telehealth).
A telemedicine/telehealth visit works in most of the same ways that primary care would. Telehealth is the administration of health care through telecommunication devices such as video chatting. In most ways, they’re a virtual visit from a healthcare provider.
The benefits of virtual visits during these times of COVID-19 can’t be understated. They’re ensuring that primary care is given without exposing anyone to unnecessary risks. Although there are still some issues to telemedicine that require ironing out, this form of health care will likely continue past the coronavirus age.
Even if you’ve been given a great option of hearing aid, there are still things that you can do at home to avoid wearing them all the time. Many things in the home rely on your sense of hearing to be operational (such as telephones, doorbells, televisions, kettles, etc.). The best place to start adapting is by going through the home and adding a different stimulus. There are smoke alarms available for those with hearing impairments, which will flash a strobe light and make a sound.
Also, hearing dogs are similar to guide dogs, which can alert you when a visitor is knocking at the door or whenever your attention is called for. Hearing dogs have seen more prevalence in the United Kingdom but are growing in popularity in the United States. Plus, who wouldn’t want a furry friend in the household?
As these are technically working dogs, they should have access to most places. Until you get used to them (and them to you), it might be worth checking out some dog-friendly destinations for winter vacations and enjoying some downtime with them.
Losing your hearing might be tough, but it’s easier than it used to be and will get easier still. With the right guidance and treatment, you can still enjoy everything you used to (and maybe gain a new furry friend, too) and live your life exactly as you did before.