Hearing loss is an incredibly common problem, both in the United States and worldwide, but that doesn’t necessarily make it any easier to adjust if you find yourself affected by it. Nearly half of Americans over 75 and 15% of the overall population have some type of hearing loss. Despite that, many people don’t know much about hearing health or how to take deal with it if they start to experience loss of hearing or other symptoms that can be indicative of problems with auditory processing.
Adapting to the challenges of day-to-day life can be intimidating and overwhelming for someone who is new to experiencing a loss of hearing, but there’s a lot you can do to help yourself become more comfortable with your condition. Read on for three simple tips on how to overcome a hearing loss diagnosis.
1. Seek professional treatment.
The first thing most people wonder when they find out that have some type of hearing loss is to find out what treatments might be available to them. What the best treatment often depends on what the cause of your hearing loss is and what your health situation is more broadly. Your years of age are typically the strongest predictor, older adults make up the majority of hearing loss patients in the United States, but there are many factors. While there may not be a permanent solution, there are often still plenty of things you can do to improve your quality of life.
For example, there’s no cure for tinnitus, but there are several effective treatments that sufferers say provide them with meaningful relief from their symptoms. Tinnitus patients often have a lot of success with counseling, cognitive behavioral therapy, and occasionally, medication. For those with age-related hearing loss or severe hearing loss, hearing aids and cochlear implants can be life-changing solutions, though they aren’t recommended for every type of hearing loss. Having a hearing test done by an audiologist is a good place to start, and they can provide you with a referral to a specialist if it’s required.
2. Connect with others who are hard of hearing.
Thanks to the internet, it’s easier than ever for like-minded people to find ways to connect and share experiences. Online forums and social media platforms have created an unprecedented opportunity for different kinds of support groups, which can be incredibly beneficial for anyone dealing with a new medical diagnosis or adjusting to something like hearing loss.
If you have age-related hearing loss, a group of seniors who can relate to what you’re going through can make a big difference in your mood and ability to connect. For those with trauma-related early-onset profound hearing loss or permanent hearing loss, there are specific forums and groups for that as well. Don’t be afraid to reach out and find others who you can talk to.
3. Consider therapy.
When it comes to managing the effects of hearing loss, it can be just as difficult emotionally as it is physically. That’s why counseling or therapy can be a great idea for those newly-diagnosed with any type of hearing loss. Health care should be seen in a holistic way, which is why handling the physical nature of your hearing problem is just as essential as handling the effects on your mental health. CBT, or cognitive behavioral therapy, is a different kind of therapeutic treatment than talk therapy, but it can also be helpful to those suffering from hearing loss.
It’s just one of many management strategies for those with hearing-related health conditions. It is especially helpful for many tinnitus patients when it comes to relieving tinnitus symptoms. Medication can also be a part of your treatment plan if you’re comfortable with taking that step with your health care provider. Significant life changes can be difficult to process under the best of circumstances, so don’t beat yourself up if you find yourself needing a little extra help after a loss of hearing.
Whether your hearing loss is due to trauma, genetic, or some type of age-related hearing loss, it can be a process to adapt to and adjust to the new challenges that you may experience. Still, there is a myriad of resources at your disposal to help you identify the best treatment, connect with others who share your diagnosis and experiences, and to reach out for help when it comes to making progress in processing the change in your hearing on an emotional level. Learning about a new health condition is always a little overwhelming, but take some time to learn more about your hearing loss and all of the things you can do to help manage it and you’ll be well on your way to feeling like yourself again.