By Kathy Landon, V.P. Branding & Professional Services, Sonic
This is the second in a three-part series on hearing loss. The first article examined hearing loss in general terms and provided information on the various causes, types and effects hearing loss can have. This piece will highlight how to get help if someone suspects they have a hearing loss.
If a person suspects their hearing has declined, it’s time to take action. Here are three simple steps to get on the path to better hearing.
The internet is a great source of information; resources are available to explain hearing and hearing loss, research available treatments and solutions, and to locate a hearing care professional. Seeking out friends and family members that have treated their hearing loss and asking them to share their experiences is also helpful. Another option is to consult a family doctor for a referral to a hearing care professional the doctor trusts.
2) Locate a Professional
A hearing care professional specializes in identifying, diagnosing, treating, and monitoring hearing disorders. Once they test a person’s hearing and analyze their situation, they devise a treatment option that would best suit the person and their lifestyle.
Keep in mind that should a hearing device be necessary, the person will be best served by visiting a trained and credentialed hearing care professional. These professionals provide high levels of expertise and service, including proper fitting through face-to-face consultations. Look for professionals who comply with state and federal laws and regulations pertaining to dispensing hearing instruments.
3) Prepare for the Visit
Prior to visiting a hearing care professional, consider the following ‘best practices’ for a successful visit:
1. Bring a relative or a good friend to the appointment.
After the appointment, it is nice to be able to discuss the results with someone else who attended.
2. Be prepared to discuss medical and medication history.
The hearing care professional will want to know if the person has previously suffered from any issues related to their ears and auditory system.
As for medication history, some drugs may cause hearing loss as a side effect; this is referred to as an ototoxic hearing loss. Sometimes this is temporary and can be reversed or stopped. Other times it is permanent. Some drugs are known to be ototoxic. A brochure is available at the Center for Hearing and Communication website that lists the most commonly used medications that could potentially cause damage to hearing, or aggravate an already existing problem. If the person is taking any of the medications listed in this brochure, or if they have ever taken any of these medications, bring a list of these drugs to the appointment.
3. Create a list of common situations where hearing is difficult. For example, think about the following specific environments:
Talking on the phone (home line or mobile)
At the dinner table
Outside the Home:
At work / office
At a restaurant
At a social function (party, fund raiser, etc)
At a movie, concert, or theater
4. Identify the main concerns regarding the person’s hearing. Sharing those concerns with a hearing care professional can help identify a solution that works best.
- Is there worry that nothing can be done?
- Is there worry about the cost of treatments and solutions?
- Is there fear of how having a hearing device may make them appear to others?
5. Come with an open mind.
View the process as a step to, not just better hearing, but a better life. Hearing plays such an important role in connecting with others and enjoying the sounds of everyday life. Be prepared to embrace the changes ahead.
With these tips in mind, people experiencing hearing loss can address the issue fully and confidently. Education and the input of a hearing professional are all that are needed to remove the fear and negative connotation surrounding hearing loss. The sense of sound is too valuable for hearing loss issues to go unaddressed.
The third and final edition of this series will cover different types of available hearing solutions.
Kathy Landon joined Sonic in 2000. Prior to her current position, she held various positions within the company, most recently having been vice president of products and marketing. During her tenure with Sonic, Ms. Landon has been integral to the company’s software and hardware product development efforts.