Recently, we shared five important steps you can take to ensure better hearing. Our mission is to keep Santa Barbara and Solvang residents hearing to the best of their abilities, so we thought we’d expand upon our original article and give you five more steps to better hearing. Think of it as Christmas in July.
Step One – Learn to Recognize Changes in Your Hearing
Last time we discussed the importance of having a hearing test in order to diagnose hearing loss early. But chances are, unless you’re aware of a problem, you’re not going to ask your doctor to test your hearing. This is why it’s so important to pay attention to your hearing and learn to recognize any changes that occur. Hearing loss occurs gradually and the symptoms are subtle, so this can be tricky. If you feel that people are mumbling when they speak, you are asking others to repeat themselves more frequently, and you find yourself turning up the volume when watching TV or listening to music, your hearing may be deteriorating.
Step Two – Knowledge is Power
It’s important to take the time to learn about the hearing process. There is plenty of information to be found online or in the library – yes, those still exist! – and understanding how hearing works, what can cause hearing impairment, and the different types and degrees of hearing loss can help you make sense of your own hearing difficulties. You can study up on hearing aids as well, learning about the various features and determining which ones would be most beneficial to your needs and lifestyle.
Step Three – Find a Support System
With 48 million Americans experiencing hearing loss, you are hardly alone! Speaking to others who are dealing with the same thing will help reassure you that hearing loss doesn’t mean you have to give up the lifestyle to which you have become accustomed. A support system – family, friends, neighbors, even online groups – is essential in learning to cope with your impairment.
Step Four – Look for Ways to Enhance Your Listening Experience
Hearing aids are the primary treatment for patients with hearing loss, but they are only the starting point. There are many accessories that can help improve communication and make your overall quality of life easier, including assistive listening devices, captioned telephones, visual alert systems, telecoils and hearing loops, and more.
Step Five – Have Patience
Once you’ve been diagnosed with hearing loss, you are likely to feel overwhelmed, scared, and depressed. These are normal emotions – living with a hearing impairment requires many changes to your daily routine. It’s important to have patience as you adjust to your new reality. Everything takes practice, and your hearing aids will feel and sound strange to you at first. But keep it up, and soon everything will become second nature to you. The old adage that practice makes perfect is certainly true, and the key to success!
To arrange a hearing aid evaluation, contact HSSB (Hearing Services of Santa Barbara) in Santa Barbara at (805) 967-4200, or in Solvang at (805) 688-3100. We look forward to helping you improve your hearing and your quality of life.