When Your Family Worries More About Disturbing Others Than Helping You Hear

It was a wonderful day on a recent family vacation filled with big adventures, beautiful weather and a great evening meal. It was time to relax on the hotel bar balcony to take in the view while enjoying a drink and dessert. We settled into our spot and suddenly everyone in my family started talking so quietly that I could no longer follow the conversation. There were a few other groups enjoying the balcony but overall, it was a quiet environment. Automatically, my family had dropped the volume of their voices to match the surrounding noise level.

This is a natural reaction, but for people with hearing loss, it doesn’t work. Things must be of a certain loudness in order for me to hear them — especially voices.

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How Can Audiologists Help Their Patients Hear Their Best?

I recently presented a mini module at the American Academy of Audiology’s annual convention in Nashville. My talk was well attended and I received numerous comments and questions from the audience after the presentation. I am excited and grateful to have had the opportunity to share the patient’s perspective with such an impressive group of audiologists and related hearing professionals. Below I share my remarks from the meeting. I hope to have the opportunity to speak on this topic again soon.  

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Will Broadway Be Hearing Loss Accessible At Every Show?

Every theater, every show, every seat will be accessible on demand for people with hearing loss. This is the goal of the latest accessibility initiative on Broadway. And it is a big one. The initiative, sponsored by The Shubert Organization, The Broadway League and Theater Development Fund, would allow people with hearing loss to utilize on demand captioning at every show (after the first four weeks) starting in 2018 via the GalaPro app on a mobile phone or a separate hand-held iCaption device. The idea is exciting — but the execution is still a work in progress.

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What To Do When You Think You Have A Hearing Loss

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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Do You Have a Hearing Buddy?

I didn’t do it on purpose — finding a hearing buddy to help me navigate my recent yoga retreat. It just happened, mostly because my hearing buddy enjoyed helping me and because I wasn’t shy about letting her know about my hearing loss. I used to regularly hide my hearing loss, but since I came out of my hearing loss closet, I make a point to announce my hearing issues at the start of any retreat / meeting / class where they might impact my interactions with others. This retreat was no exception.

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