What To Do When You Think You Have A Hearing Loss

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I am proud to share my hearing loss story and tips on Hearing Tracker

Hearing loss sneaks up on people gradually, so it is sometimes difficult to detect oneself. Often, friends and family are the first to notice. The average person waits 7-10 years before treating their hearing loss. Part of this is due to stigma, but part is not knowing the steps to take to find out more about hearing loss and to construct a plan for treatment. Here are my tips for taking the first few steps along your hearing loss journey. Please share your ideas in the comments.

Take a Hearing Test

For an initial assessment, you should see an audiologist, or your primary care physician if you need a referral. At your first visit to an audiologist, the hearing loss specialist will examine you physically and perform a series of hearing tests to determine the type and degree of your loss. Online hearing tests are also now available, including The National Hearing Test, which was created through a grant from the National Institutes of Health and is provided on a non-profit basis. There is a small fee to take the test. If hearing loss is confirmed, you move onto the treatment phase of your care.

Find the Right Audiologist For You

If you have a hearing loss, the right audiologist can be a true partner in your care. Find an audiologist that has experience with your type of hearing loss, offers a variety of hearing aid brands and other assistive technologies and takes a person-centered approach. When possible, get a recommendation from a friend or a trusted doctor, or read reviews online to find someone with the skills and manner you desire. If the first audiologist you see does not feel right for you, try someone else. A good personal fit is important.

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10 thoughts on “What To Do When You Think You Have A Hearing Loss”

  1. Jerry Henderson – Pownal Maine – Thank you for coming to my space. This is where I post thoughts, opinions and commentary on a variety of subjects at irregular intervals. I try to do something weekly, but have not nailed down a rigid schedule, like every Wednesday, yet. If you would like email notifications of new posts, you can make that happen right on the site. Simply enter your email address to subscribe. Also, if you would like to comment I welcome that. Just do so in the space at the bottom of any selected post. Sharing thoughts, opinion and commentary is a peculiarly human characteristic. It must be exercised to be enjoyed. Jerry Henderson
    Jerry Henderson says:

    Shari, I’ve come to believe that hearing tests should be a regular part of an annual physical examination. I believe this would go a long way toward removing the stigma and acknowledging that hearing loss is a medical problem. I know that in my own case, I would have been fitted with hearing aids years before I actually did get tested. Many of my closest friends tell me that they knew of my hearing loss long before I did. Hearing tests must be factored into the normal health screening process at an early age.

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      I completely agree! Thank you for sharing this important point.

  2. Hi Jerry,

    It’s so true!
    My friends and family kept telling me that something was wrong. ..but, I was in such denial.
    It took 15-20 years to come to accept the hearing loss and then, finally invest $7,000 in the best ones that money could buy.
    Of course, insurance didn’t cover ANY of the cost.
    But, I became so disabled that it was time to stop lying to myself.
    I especially needed to hear speech sounds more clearly, because, ironically, I am a speech pathologist.
    How sad that I waited all of those years and frustrated friends and family.
    My world opened up to new horizons, when I began to wear my hearing aids, without fail.
    Hearing aids aren’t like glasses…they DONT give you “20/20” hearing.
    But, they enable a HOH person to enjoy being social again…to stop hiding out, because of the embarrassment and because of the fear that others will make snide remarks.

    Shari,
    Thanks for writing this blog…you are so articulate and you really drive the salient points home!

    Best,
    Ronnie

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      Thank you Ronnie for sharing your experiences and insights.

    2. Hi Shari and Ronnie,
      You are a speech pathologist with a hearing loss AND I’m a hearing impaired audiologist! Although hearing aids provide tremendous improvement and happiness for ME, one friend continuously brings up my hearing deficit with condescending comments under the fascade of concern with a smile. She can’t believe I am competent despite my hearing loss. Another friend recently stated my new hearing aids aren’t working because when she tested me by saying something behind my back as I was walking away, I did not respond. First, how cruel to “test” me! At that moment, as I explained I will never have perfect hearing again, she gave me the most evil look!
      Although I’m transparent about my impediment, I’m experiencing hurtful reactions. Maybe it’s time to eliminate a few “Friends” …. Shari, any suggestions?

      1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
        Shari Eberts says:

        This is always a tricky situation. Have you told your friends that their comments hurt your feelings? That would be where I would start. Hopefully this changes the behavior. Hope that helps!

  3. Hi Shari

    I’ve probably mentioned before about my late father and grandfather going deaf as they grew older and I have an uncle who’s in his 70’s who’s been losing his hearing for about 20 years.

    When I began to notice difficulty hearing at work and in situations where there was background noise I kind of knew what it was and recognise that because of the family history in the male side of my recent ancestry then it was something that was inevitable.

    I did put it off for a few months but because work situations were getting difficult I had to act sooner rather than later.

    Now, thank God for hearing aids!

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      So glad you took action soon! Most people wait too long to get treatment (myself included). Thank you for sharing your story.

  4. Good morning

    I first noticed some loss when I bought a home in in the woods in NH. One morning I was lying on my left side and heard nothing. I rolled over and suddenly heard birds chirping. I realized then there was some hearing loss but I denied it. That was in 1976. I only got my first set of aids in 2007. My loss has progressively worsened.

    My biggest issues are due to my continuing to work in a big box retail setting with lots of background noise.
    I have an especially difficult time with people with thick accents both regional American and foreign accents.
    Some get angry when I ask them to repeat. I explain I have a hearing issue but often they still don’t speak clear enough. I also have a co worker who used to tease and mock me but I recently put a stop to that.

    I feel we can and should be up front and unashamed of the loss. I will stop a customer until I have installed my aids as I do not put them on upon awakining. This loss can be due to so many things that it’s almost a crap shoot who loses their hearing.

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      I agree being up front helps a lot. Thank you for sharing your story.

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