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Did you know that May is Better Hearing and Speech Month? Better Hearing and Speech Month (BHSM) was founded in 1927 by ASHA (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association), “to raise awareness and promote treatment that can improve quality of life for those who experience problems with speaking, hearing or understanding.”
The theme for this year’s BSHM is “Communication at Work.” This theme holds special significance for those with hearing loss, as people with communication issues may need extra attention to get used to social distancing.
Hearing Loss and Social Distancing
People generally thrive when interacting with others. When you struggle with hearing the lack of social interaction can be even more severe. If you have hearing loss that is untreated then you may already be struggling with communication, making casual conversation a struggle rather than a nourishing experience. It is often certain tones or pitches that diminish first with hearing loss making your brain work overtime to fill in the missing parts of words and conversation. This can be exhausting for your brain and your entire body.
Many people who are not addressing their hearing loss choose to avoid social interaction rather than put their brain and body through the stress of struggling to understand what others are saying. This can lead to depression, anxiety and social isolation. Now add in social distancing and shelter in place and you have a dangerous situation for people already predisposed to self-isolation. It is a difficult situation, as it is often difficult to diagnose your own hearing loss as it develops slowly over time, until you realize one day that you can not hear, even in the most ideal listening environments. It is often the people closest to you that will let you know you have a hearing loss.
Signs of Hearing Loss
The most common type of hearing loss is sensorineural hearing loss, which is caused from damage to the delicate hair cells in the inner ear and/or the nerve pathways that deliver sound information to your brain. This type of hearing loss is often caused by excessive noise, which damages the hairs of the inner ear, or very commonly by natural breakdown due to advanced age. Because this condition develops slowly over time, it is important to know the signs so you can self diagnose and seek treatment. Hearing loss can be even more difficult to diagnose if you are having less social interaction than normal due to sheltering in place. Common signs of hearing loss include:
- You struggle to understand speech over the phone or during video chats, especially when there is a lot of background noise
- You have a feeling that you can hear but not comprehend what is being said.
- You struggle to pinpoint the location of sounds around you
- You find yourself asking people to repeat themselves excessively
- You find yourself avoiding social situations
- Social interactions exhaust you.
- Certain sounds may be irritating or too loud that used not to bother you.
How Hearing Aids Help While Socially Distancing
While sensorineural hearing loss is irreversible, hearing aids can help you hear conversations in person and over the phone. Hearing aids work by amplifying the sounds around you and delivering them directly to your ears. Now, many hearing aids can deliver sound from your phone or smart device, directly to your hearing aids, making speaking over the phone or video chat easier than ever before.
Wear Your Hearing Aids
Even while spending at home time it is important to wear your hearing aids as much as possible. Keeping your device in your ear will give you the best access to daily communication, language and learning. The more exposure to social interaction you can get while spending more time at home than normal, the better.
Make sure your hearing aids are working their best
We can help you make sure your hearing aids are working for you. Make an appointment to have you hearing checked if you suspect you are struggling with hearing loss and get on the road to better hearing.