Over the last several decades, the entertainment industry has produced numerous films and television shows that focus on characters who have some degree of hearing loss. One of the most memorable examples is The Miracle Worker (1962), the true story of Annie Sullivan teaching Helen Keller to understand words through signs and motions made with her fingers in Keller’s hands. It’s a powerful, well-written film that’s elevated by strong, Oscar-winning performances from Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke.
There are no secret remedies that a person can rub into their ears to miraculously treat their hearing loss, nor is there is a “Get Your Hearing Back in 3 Weeks Diet.” No shortcuts like that exist. However, studies have shown that your diet can affect your hearing health.
Audiologists know the impact that loss of hearing has on their patients’ lives. Unfortunately, the first interaction with most of them comes after they have already developed some degree of hearing loss. The sad reality is many people put off getting their hearing checked until it is too late. According to the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), it takes seven years, on average, for a person to seek treatment for suspected hearing loss. These may be the same people that are unaware of the detrimental effects loss of hearing can have on their social lives and cognitive health.
There are many causes of hearing loss. There is also a correlation between the age of a person and hearing loss. The older the person, the better chance they are hearing impaired.
Physical therapists are often called upon to work with the older patients whom are experiencing pain, weakness, trouble balancing, and more. Because of their age, many of these patients may also suffer from some degree of hearing loss, which is why an understanding of the condition can be valuable for those in the field.
Have you ever had a conversation with a hearing-impaired patient whom believes they do not suffer from hearing loss? They may be in denial of their condition, which is a common reaction. What they may need is a little reassurance that they’re not alone, and that life with hearing loss in today’s day and age is more manageable than ever. If you need help convincing them, you can also refer to these hearing loss facts and statistics:
In 1969, famed Swiss-American psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross released her theory of the five stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. These same emotional stages can apply to any source of grief – from the loss of a loved one to the loss of one’s hearing.
The holidays are quickly approaching, and that means it’s almost time to celebrate and party with coworkers, friends, and family. As many people with hearing loss will tell you, hearing at parties isn’t an easy task, especially without hearing aids with speech-in-noise features.
If you have patients that are worried about their hearing during the upcoming festivities, here are some tips you can give them to help ease their minds:
Many of your patients may have travel plans to see family and friends over the holidays. Between flights, UBER rides, and time spent waiting for both they’ll have a lot of downtime. Because of this, you have an opportunity to recommend some great books on hearing loss and how to cope with it.
Hearing loss can be a solitary experience. You often miss the punch line of the joke and look around in confusion while everyone else is laughing. You are embarrassed to ask your friend to repeat herself for the third time so you just nod along and pretend you heard her instead. Significant concentration is required to follow conversations, leading to hearing loss exhaustion and general fatigue. Sometimes people with hearing loss decide socializing is not worth the effort and choose to isolate themselves. They start to avoid parties and intimate time with friends and family. This was the case for me.
Those who haven’t lived it can only imagine how difficult work must be for someone with severe hearing impairment. Whether you’re sitting in a desk all day, standing behind a counter, or operating heavy machinery, hearing is essential to any job.