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. Your hearing is there, but it’s muffled as though you have cotton wool in your ears, despite them being obvious. What started as a ringing in the ears has progressed into sounding like everything around you is underwater. You try to sleep it off, but the sounds are dulled the following day. 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 to ensure that you can still live your life in the way you want, enjoying all five senses with just a few minimal adjustments. Here are some ideas on what to do if you suspect you have hearing loss.
Get your hearing checked as soon as possible.
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 to what it was before. That’s the job of specialist caregivers known as audiologists. At this point, you have two options. First, you can visit your doctor’s office or healthcare provider, who will check your ears for any physical issues. If they cannot find the source of your discomfort, 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 immediately. Hearing Health USA runs several hearing centers across all states (you can find one easily with a quick online search of “hearing centers near me”), most of them. Here, you’ll find a group of audiologists and hearing healthcare specialists. They can perform a hearing test and understand why your surroundings aren’t sounding as they should.
The best part about Hearing Health USA is its lack of bias. 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. 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.
Remember, COVID-19 is preventing in-person visits to most clinics.
Depending on your state or the new administration’s strategy in combatting the coronavirus outbreak, you might not be allowed to physically enter a hearing clinic or doctor’s office. However, as a compromise to this, many healthcare providers help retain easy access to patient care through telemedicine (also known as telehealth). Telehealth is health care administration through telecommunication devices such as video chatting. A telemedicine/telehealth visit works in the same ways primary care would. 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. First, they’ree ensuring that primary care is given without exposing anyone to unnecessary risks. Although some issues with telemedicine still require ironing out, this form of health care will likely continue past the coronavirus age.
I am returning home with hearing loss.
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 way to adapt is by going through the home and adding a different stimulus. Smoke alarms are available for those with a hearing impairment that flash a strobe light and make a sound.
Hearing dogs have seen more prevalence in the United Kingdom but are growing in popularity in the United States. 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. Plus, who wouldn’t want a furry friend in the household?
These are technically working dogs, so they should have access to most places. However, untill 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) and live your life exactly as you did before.