The Best Advice for Handling Hearing Loss
Have you been experiencing hearing loss? How would you know? Hearing loss affects people differently depending on their environments. People who are constantly attending meetings and social events or parties will experience a more noticeable hearing loss than people who live a quieter lifestyle.
If you are not sure whether you have hearing loss, you are not alone. Hearing loss, especially to high frequency sounds, often goes undetected. To determine whether your ears are hearing at their optimum, I recommend having your ears checked and your hearing evaluated.
Whether you have hearing loss or not, the following tips will help you hear better and clearer without the need of amplification.
ON THE PHONE
If you have difficulty hearing people on your cell phone, you may want to use a landline phone instead. Yes, believe it or not, landlines still exist, and many people still use them today. Landline phones typically provide clearer sound than do cell phones and will help to improve your understanding of the person you are speaking with. Next time you are struggling to understand the person through your cell phone, ask them if you call return their call using you landline.
If a landline phone isn’t an option for you, try using the speaker phone setting on your cell. Using speaker phone puts both your ears to work as they listen to the speaker, aiding your understanding and discrimination of sounds.
If the speaker says something that you didn’t hear, ask him to rephrase his statement rather than repeat it. Chances are if a speaker repeats something you didn’t understand the first time, you will not understand it the second time. However, if the speaker re-words his statement, giving more context, you will have a better chance of understanding him. For example, someone on the phone asks you, “Have you ever been to our location before?” Since you did not understand the question, you ask him to rephrase. He responds, “We are located on Smith and Vine. Have you ever been a patient here?” The added context makes the question easier to understand.
One last tip is to repeat back to the person what you think he said if you might have misheard him. He will tell you whether you are correct.
As audiologists, we receive many reports from people who have difficulty hearing when dining out. The reason is that restaurants are filled with background noise. One way to escape the noise is to visit the restaurant when it is less busy, perhaps 30 minutes earlier than you usually go. Even this small change can make a big difference in how much background noise is present.
Another tip for hearing success while dining out is to request a booth or corner table farthest from the entrance or kitchen. This position provides you a more suitable environment for conversation. The booth’s height effectively blocks some of the noise going on around you.
If you are going out with three or more people, attempt to keep side conversations to a minimum. Nothing is worse than trying to talk louder than the person next to you. When choosing your seat, sit across from the person you plan to speak with the most. This allows you to face them and observe non-verbal and verbal cues during the conversation.
Because home is the environment we have the most control over, let's make the most out of it! When you’re at home, you don’t want to compete with noises around you. The best option is to turn things off and only run appliances during certain times of the day.
Do you have a loud dishwasher? Consider running it in the morning instead of at night before bed while you’re watching television or socializing.
Did you recently purchase a soundbar hoping it would make your television sound clearer? Unfortunately, a soundbar’s purpose is to enhance your entertainment experience – not to improve the sound’s clarity. Most sound bars will put too much emphasis on the base, leaving you with less clarity.
The last tip for hearing success at home is to refrain from talking to your spouse from a different room. Having a conversation face-to-face allows for a better signal-to-noise ratio as well as allows you both to benefit from visual and facial cues. Personally, one of my favorite tips is to say the person’s name before speaking to him.
IN THE CAR
“Shotgun!” Remember that saying? If you are struggling to hear while in the car, you may need to start using it more often. Sitting in the front passenger seat allows you to look at each speaker in the car and more easily converse with them.
Another way to hear more easily in the car is by limiting obstructing noise: turn off the radio and the air conditioner or shut the windows.
The last tip may seem extreme, but it noticeably changes the amount of noise your vehicle creates. Tires with straight grooves in between continuous patterns help to reduce tire rotation noise. If your tires need replacing, you may want to consider purchasing this type of noise-reducing tire.
As an audiologist in your community we hope these tips will help you hear and understand your world better, even if you don’t have hearing loss. Wearing hearing aids is only one solution of many. The experts at Audiology and Hearing Aid Center hope to provide you with the best ways to effectively communicate.