If you have recently been diagnosed by an audiologist as having some form of hearing impairment then the first this to know is that you are not alone. According to the National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), around 36 million Americans have suffered from some form of hearing loss. That means that there are nearly 50 million other fellow countrymen and women out there who have undergone, or are undergoing the same experience that you are. Frankly, whether it is a condition such as tinnitus (a constant sound in the ears that seemingly has no trace or source) or complete deafness in one or both ears, the modern world and today’s technology are ensuring that no one need miss out because of this impairment. The today’s world, living with hearing loss does not have to be frustrating, and here are a few ways to back up that claim.
Audiology is making some groundbreaking progress and is a much different health care science than it was a decade or so ago. It used to be the case that if you were diagnosed with a hearing impairment, then the only really effective treatment would be via a large and heavy hearing aid that would fatigue the earlobe upon which it rests, and would draw a great deal of unwanted attention via its cumbersome design. In addition, they would invariably buzz and ring when being adjusted, which are sounds that could easily be mistaken for tinnitus symptoms!
Hearing care itself has become much more sophisticated, and, as a result, audiologists have far more methods and therapies to offer people with hearing loss and minimize conditions such as tinnitus and other hearing difficulties. Hearing Health USA is one example of assistance. As well as the network of hearing centers that anyone with a hearing problem can go to to get themselves checked out, they also provide tinnitus therapy to alleviate tinnitus symptoms. Even though there is no cure or particularly defined cause of this constant buzzing or ringing in the ear canal, tinnitus solutions are proving to be incredibly effective.
As the technology improves, the approaches to how the technology is viewed is also getting better. Those big hearing aids that were mentioned before are things of the past. Hearing care has a degree of subtley about it, relying on mobile devices, small “invisible” hearing aids, and wearable tech that no one needs to worry or feel self-conscious about when they walk out of their front door.
For many, the idea of accessibility involves how easy a building is to get into if you have a problem with your mobility. However, once into the building, accessibility was largely forgotten about and only really catered to those who had visible diabilities. Hearing loss is never really explored as something that must be accounted for when considering how accessible a place is, and yet even a simple upgrade can be a real difference maker.
Firstly, someone with hearing impairments is not going to be well served by sound cues. In the home, this includes doorbells, telephones, oven timers, smoke detectors, alarms, and much more. To be more accessible, there should be the addition of a light cue to as many of these devices as possible. Taking phone calls as an example—having a light that flashes when a telephone starts ringing will be useful. Communication is key, so letting people know that you won’t be able to hear a caller when they want to speak to you is going to help, but tracing unknown callers might be an extra assist, as most companies who call you will be presuming that they can communicate in the same way as any other. They will accommodate you from then on, and will switch up their methods of communication.
A lot of this installation can take the form of easy DIY projects around the home, and so shouldn’t be much concern. Do seek out professional help when it comes to installing smoke detectors and burglar alarms, simply as these are of the utmost importance and would need to be installed correctly. Hearing loss is unfortunate, but it doesn’t have to be overly frustrating. Take your time to adjust and you’ll see that so much can be adjusted to you as well.