If you’re deaf or hard of hearing, you know how much your ability to hear impacts your life. It’s an essential part of communication, whether in school or at work. But if your hearing loss is severe enough that it interferes with daily life, you may want to consider getting help from a doctor and changing some habits in order to regain some of the hearing you’ve lost. Here’s what we recommend:
Stop ignoring your hearing loss.
- Don’t ignore your hearing loss.
- Stop being embarrassed about it.
- Don’t wait for someone else to do it for you.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends, family, and professionals.
- Ask your doctor if they can refer you to a specialist who can conduct an official hearing test and make recommendations on the best way forward depending on the outcome of that test.
Get the best hearing aid you can afford.
There’s an important difference between cheap and expensive hearing aids. A cheap hearing aid might not have the features you need to cope with your hearing loss, but it also won’t last as long or work as well as a more expensive model.
While there are many factors that can determine how much you pay for your first set of hearing aids (and subsequent replacements), it’s important to know that you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on them in order for them to be effective.
Many people find that they can affordably purchase their own set of hearing aids if they’re aware of all their options—both those covered by insurance and those that aren’t covered by insurance—and shop around until they find one within their budget range.
Talk to your doctor about a cochlear implant.
If you’re hard of hearing, a cochlear implant might be an option for you. A cochlear implant is a device that helps people who are deaf or hard of hearing to hear by converting sounds into electrical signals that travel through their ear canal and inner ear to the auditory nerve.
Cochlear implants are small electronic devices about the size of a pocket watch that fit inside your skull behind the ear. These devices contain an electrode array (an array consisting of multiple electrodes) and a sound processor that together help stimulate nerves in your inner ear so they can send sound information to your brain.
Keep learning about your options for hearing loss.
If you’re deaf or hard of hearing, there are many options for helping to improve your ability to hear. If you’ve never been tested before, it’s important that you do get an official diagnosis from a specialist. There are many different types of hearing loss and each requires different treatment options. Your doctor can help guide you through the process and determine what type of hearing loss (if any) you have and what steps need to be taken next.
You can also learn more about your options by doing online research into various technologies that could enhance your life as someone with a disability like this one! For example, there are several companies who provide custom-fit devices for people with severe hearing deficits that allow them to better use their phone or computer—even when in noisy environments like restaurants or home theaters! If this sounds good but isn’t available where you live yet then it may be worth traveling somewhere else until such services become available closer home (or vice versa).
- Embrace technology.
- Use video chat and text message to talk, rather than phone calls.
- Learn how to use your smartphone and other devices, such as a hearing aid or cochlear implant, so that you can hear better.
- The more you use technology as an assistive device (not a replacement), the easier it becomes for people who aren’t deaf or hard of hearing to communicate with you. For example, if someone is talking loudly on the phone at work, put on headphones and play music from YouTube or Spotify so that everyone can hear what’s being said without having to shout over each other!
Put yourself in the middle of conversations.
- Put yourself in the middle of conversations.
- Don’t be afraid to ask people to repeat things.
- Don’t be afraid to ask people to speak up.
- Don’t be afraid to ask people to slow down their speech, or even write it out for you on paper if they think it’s easier for you!
- If someone speaks too quickly, don’t let that stop you from trying—just say so (politely), and they’ll probably slow down a bit more next time they talk with you.
Learn the signs for basic words and phrases you use all the time.
The next thing you should do is learn the signs for basic words and phrases you use all the time. This can really help you communicate with others who are deaf or hard of hearing, especially if they work with you at your job.
Sign language is a great way to communicate, but it’s not universal—every country has its own sign language. If someone speaks English as their second language, then they’ll likely use British Sign Language (BSL), which looks different than American Sign Language (ASL).
Also remember that even within one country there can be regional variations; while BSL and ASL look similar on paper, they have slight differences in the way things like hand shapes are used to make each letter or word. For example: If I’m talking about someone being “stupid” in ASL then I’d spell it by making an “S” handshape on my forehead so that people would know what letter I was referring to when spelling out words during conversation! But if I’m speaking BSL then this same word would also be spelled by making an “S” handshape near my mouth because our local version uses facial gestures instead of handshapes over tops of heads!
Practice active listening.
Being a good listener is a learned skill. It’s not enough to just be quiet, nod your head and say “uh-huh.” If you want to truly understand what someone is saying, you need to focus on what they’re saying instead of thinking about what you’re going to say in response.
Here are some ways you can practice active listening:
- Repeat back what was said in your own words. This shows that you were paying attention and that hearing loss doesn’t prevent good communication skills from being developed or maintained. (For example: “So I see that Melissa is using an old version of Windows.”)
- Ask for clarification if something isn’t clear or if there is any part of the conversation where it seems like it might be difficult for those involved (such as having one party talk while others are driving).If someone tells me they use an old version of Windows, I’ll ask them if they mean Windows XP or 7 because there was a huge difference between those two operating systems and it’s important for me know which one my client has so I can better help them with their issue
Get comfortable with closed captioning and subtitles.
- Get comfortable with closed captioning and subtitles.
- Closed captioning is a great way to learn sign language, and writing down what you’re seeing on the screen can help you understand it more quickly. Subtitles are a good way to get an idea of what people are saying without having to ask them to repeat themselves (which is annoying for everyone involved). Both are available on most TV and movies, as well as some YouTube videos if you’re watching something in English but want subtitles in another language.
You deserve to hear better.
We all deserve to hear better. Being deaf or hard of hearing is not a condition that can be ignored. It’s important to your health and quality of life, relationships with others, work responsibilities and more.
Your hearing loss is just one part of who you are—and you don’t need others’ approval or understanding in order to accept yourself as you are now. But there are ways that you can help yourself feel better about your hearing loss:
I hope these tips help you get the most out of your hearing loss and feel more confident in social situations. Remember, people with hearing loss are just like everyone else—they have goals, ambitions and fears just like anyone else does. The only difference is that they have to work harder to achieve them because of their condition. So let’s all lend a hand to those who need it most!