One of the sad health facts of life is that most of us will end up with a hearing problem at some point. Usually, people experience hearing loss as they get older, but some individuals may have trouble understanding the world around them from a young age.
As you can imagine, it can sometimes be tough to cope with hearing loss, especially if its effects are getting more noticeable as you age. Still, it’s best to stay positive and not let it control your life or even define it.
Get the right treatment
When you experience hearing loss, you must get the right treatment for it. Examples of what you might get offered include hearing aids, a cochlear implant, and assistive listening devices.
You must see your doctor and get referred for hearing tests. Once that’s done, you can get offered treatment options to suit your needs and lifestyle. The last thing you want to do is experience hearing loss and not get any assistance for it.
Pay attention to facial expressions and gestures
Even though you are experiencing problems hearing what people say to you, there are other ways to help you determine what is getting said. One of the most common ways to find out is by observing people’s facial expressions and gestures. You might not realize it, but sometimes the way we react or look, or even our body language can tell us more than what gets said from a person’s mouth!
You will soon begin to understand better what people are saying by merely looking at how they talk to you. Of course, this only applies for face to face conversations, or if you’re on a video call to someone.
The Internet is an excellent resource when it comes to learning more about translating people’s facial expressions and gestures. There are many websites and even YouTube videos on the subject.
Avoid talking to people in noisy environments
It stands to reason that the background noise you hear will affect how you can listen to what a person is saying to you. Places like libraries, coffee shops, and even local parks will make it easier for you to hear and understand what is getting told in a conversation.
If you try to converse with someone in a noisy environment such as a bar, music concert, or a packed marketplace area, you will struggle and eventually end up feeling frustrated and have low self-esteem.
When you do talk to people in quieter environments, be sure to face them when they speak. That way, you’ll find it easier to understand what they are saying. If they are talking away from you, it’s unlikely you’ll hear everything that is getting said.
Start taking American Sign Language Classes
American Sign Language is a nationally recognized visual language that makes communication easier in noisy environments and brings you into a welcoming community of Deaf individuals. The American Deaf community is a vibrate and active tight-knit community. They are happy to help you navigate the world of hearing loss.
Consider learning to lipread
Lipreading might seem like a strange suggestion, but it’s one that can make total sense if you are experiencing hearing loss. Learning to lipread gives you an extra communication tool at your disposal and enables you to take a more active part in conversations.
Learning to lipread is a bit like learning a new language in some respects. It takes time to get used to a new way of communicating. Still, with plenty of regular practice, you will soon get the hang of lipreading and boost your confidence in social settings with friends, family members, and acquaintances.
It’s possible to get training on lipreading, but many online resources can help you get started for free.
Use subtitles and audio descriptions for video content
The great thing about television is that many of the programs you watch, including those on streaming services like Netflix, offer subtitles or audio captions to describe what is happening at any given moment. The subtitles aren’t just used to display what a person is saying; they also explain things like background noises.
If you watch a lot of YouTube videos, you’ll also notice that many of the videos on there have audio descriptions. Some of the videos have transcripts provided by the video uploaders, while others are automatically transcribed. The only trouble with the latter is that sometimes things get “lost in translation” and so some words or sentences may not make any sense.
Despite experiencing hearing loss, you can still lead a normal life and take part in most, if not all social events. While there is some adjusting you will need to do in your life, it doesn’t mean that you can’t feel included in any conversations with people.