Where To Turn for Hearing Help

People with hearing loss need help. That’s NOT to say we are helpless. But we can’t, simply through our own willpower, hear or communicate better without the input, support and skill of some important sources.

There’s nothing wrong with needing and asking for help. In fact, it’s the smart thing to do.

The way I hear it, there are four deep wells of support that can lift us out of what, for many, is the devastating impact of hearing loss. Three of these are human and the fourth is what humans produce.

 

1. The Expertise of Professionals

Many of us don’t need a doctor or an audiologist to figure out that we have hearing problems. Even if we push our suspicions down deep, they still exist in us; we know we’re not hearing well. Eventually, we can’t ignore it, but to move forward, we need a diagnosis and a plan of action. Health professionals –  family doctors, Ear, Nose & Throat physicians, and audiologists – are trained experts that can help us along the path better communication. They understand far more about the hearing system than we do – including the fact that there is still much that science has yet to discover. But, in today’s climate of mistrust, many people are dismissive of ‘experts’. Don’t make that mistake. They are our allies.

 

2. The Liberation of Technology

Has there ever been a “better time” to have hearing loss? No, there hasn’t. I’m using devices that were hardly conceived of of 25 years ago! The explosion in hearing assistive technology has improved our lives beyond the wildest dreams of people with hearing loss in, say, the 1950s. Hearing aids, assistive devices and the infinite capacity of smart technology – can be more precious to us than many (or most) of our other possessions, because technology moves us from being excluded to included.

 

3. The Strong Back of Hearing Loss Peers

Connecting with other people who have the same issue as me was mind-blowing and life-changing. Meeting them, listening to them, and absorbing what they knew (and we don’t) can be your game-changer too! These ‘others’ will share tips that you won’t get from the professionals. But – there’s always a but – use a healthy degree of caution and even skepticism when connecting on social media groups. There’s an immense amount of misinformation shared by people who may be offering opinions based on their personal experience which may not fit the particulars of your situation: quoting unverified ‘facts’ and touting expensive supplements that don’t work. If they did, none of us would have hearing loss or tinnitus! Having said that, do reach out and gain the comfort of knowing there are definitely many paths that lead forward.

 

4. The Wisdom Within

No audiogram or hearing professional can precisely describe what we hear or how we hear it. We may not have the right words do articulate how things sound (or don’t), but we know when our hearing levels are not serving us well. We know when the combination of technology, our professionals and our interactions family and friends should be working better for us. And we know that it’s up to us to take the next steps. We have to refrain from the blame game because there is currently no shining star of a cure for our hearing loss and tinnitus. Let’s trust in our ability to find a way forward and to surround ourselves with those who want to help us.

 

We need help and help is waiting.

Asking for it is the smart thing to do.

 

About Gael Hannan

Gael Hannan is a writer, speaker and advocate on hearing loss issues. In addition to her weekly blog for HearingHealthMatters.org, which has an international following, Gael wrote the acclaimed book "The Way I Hear It: A Life with Hearing Loss". She is regularly invited to present her uniquely humorous and insightful work to appreciative audiences around the world. Gael has received many awards for her work, which includes advocacy for a more inclusive society for people with hearing loss. She lives with her husband on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.

1 Comment

  1. Oh Gael – such a good article as we always get from you. In reading this, I think back to my dad, who over the last 25 years of his life was very hard of hearing and while he did have a hearing aid, I think the audiologist he went too didn’t really have the skills needed to adjust them properly and of course, being an older man, he didn’t really complain or expect more than what he had. I also feel bad in how we, his family didn’t really relate or understand what he was going through. I also wore a hearing aid for some of those later years, but I didn’t know enough either to be helpful to him or I wonder, if I really even understood his level or hearing loss. He did pretty well, seeing as he did this on his own. None of us that have hearing loss should ever miss an opportunity to reach out and when necessary take the time to explain to the hearing people, what we need from them in order for us to better communicate with them.

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