Some of the most common problems I have come across with hearing loss and hearing aid users.
During many discussions with other people suffering varying degrees of hearing loss, I have noted time and again that some of the same problems keep cropping up. These common problems apply to people who wear hearing aids and those who don’t though sometimes to varying degrees.
I will list the most common ones that I have come across. I have split them into two sections, Medical and social. I am sure other people will have a variety of other problems they have experienced and I would be delighted to hear from you if you have something to contribute. I will outline the areas here, hopefully, to get you thinking, but will deal with each of them in more detail in other posts.
Other medical issues associated with hearing loss.
I have heard many descriptions of tinnitus. For some, it is a ringing in the ears or a buzzing. For me, it is a constant whooshing sound or a rushing sound that is there 24/7. People often find it very hard to describe but it can have very serious effects on your quality of life. Some people have it in only one ear, others have it in both. It comes and goes for some but for others it is constant. It can have a major effect on peoples quality of life. From interrupted sleep patterns to anxiety and depression, which can further affect peoples personal and social lives.
Whilst there is currently no universal medical treatment, the cause may well be a treatable underlying cause such as an ear infection which may be treated thus helping your tinnitus. There are also many treatments available that help people to live with their tinnitus in such a way that it is no longer dominating their lives
For people who experience balance/Vertigo in conjunction with their hearing loss, this can have a very serious negative impact on their everyday lives. I personally experience this virtually every day. People can suffer 3/4 vertigo attacks per day. Most of them are brief but they can also last for hours at a time rendering the person pretty much helpless. People can also suffer what is known as drop down attacks where Vertigo can strike without warning. These are particularly worrying attacks and can leave a person confused and potentially injured.
For people like myself who have a combination of all three of the above, hearing loss, balance issues and tinnitus, it is called Meniere’s disease. It is a very debilitating condition and one that people have to learn to live with as there is no one single medical cure for it. There are, however, a variety of treatments for each of the conditions.
Being diagnosed with any of the conditions above can have serious effects on a persons life. From work issues to interrupted sleep patterns, to a relationship and social issues, it is hardly surprising that some people will suffer depression as a result. With more and more awareness now than ever before and more emphasis on peoples mental health and well being, this is an area that I feel needs to be addressed from within the hearing loss community. It is an issue that still too few people are willing to discuss in any detail but one that is far too important to be left for people to deal with on their own.
Some social issues relating to hearing loss.
Many people with hearing loss find social interaction very difficult. If the person hasn’t been diagnosed with a hearing loss yet then they may just put their inability to hear conversation down to other things, such as the pub being too noisy, people not talking loudly enough or the television volume not being high enough.
If their hearing loss remains undiagnosed then it is very easy for those people to become withdrawn from social situations and thus feel excluded from social interaction. This can, in turn, lead to a feeling of isolation and lack of self-worth. The outcome of this type of withdrawn person can be a very lonely place indeed for those involved.
Children and school.
Very similar to the one above. An undiagnosed hearing loss in a child can have very severe consequences for their educational and social development. A child who can’t hear what they are being asked is unlikely to volunteer answers, which can lead teachers to label the child withdrawn or lazy. Again I speak from my own experience. It can lead to disruptive behavior. Is there more can be done in schools to perhaps help teachers to look for the early signs of hearing loss in children?
This might seem like a strange one to some people but to people like myself, it is a very real and persistent problem. The world revolves around mobile phones today. Without my hearing aids, I struggle to have a conversation, even with the volume at full blast. However when I have my hearing aids in I still struggle due to the position of the microphone on my hearing aids. About 95% of all my correspondence is done through text or email. I miss being able to phone a family member or friend just for a normal chat.
All of the above are issues I have dealt with during my time with hearing loss and I believe many many others have dealt with these and indeed lots of other issues too.
Diagnosis is the first step along the journey in learning to live with hearing loss and all the other issues that go along with it. It doesn’t have to be the person themselves who identify that they may have a problem with their hearing. It can be a partner, spouse, family member, colleague, friend, teacher etc… I will be looking at and identifying ways to spot if someone may be suffering from hearing loss.
The best part of knowing that you have hearing loss is it gives you the ability to go and do something about it. The advances in technology and the choices available today mean that the vast majority of us can lead pretty much normal lives. We don’t have to be withdrawn, we can tackle the issues associated with hearing loss that leads to depression, our children can experience the full range of educational options available.
I will be looking at a range of items, from different types of hearing aids to accessories to maintain them. From treatments to help with tinnitus to books on the various subjects discussed here. If anyone has any comments or feedback or would simply like to get in touch regarding anything on the website then please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org
If anyone has any comments or feedback then please leave them in the box below and I will reply as soon as possible.