Hearing loss affects people of all ages, and it can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life. It can cause difficulties in communication, social isolation, and even depression.
As a carer, it’s important to understand the unique needs of your loved one and to be patient, compassionate, and supportive. In this article, we will explore ways to care for a loved one with hearing loss and explore the resources available to help you and your loved one navigate this journey.
1. Investigate the Cause of Hearing Loss
Certain medications you take can cause hearing loss. Tepezza or Teprotumumab, a drug used to treat Thyroid Eye Disease, has been associated with hearing loss in certain cases.
You may consider suing the manufacturers if you or a loved one took Tepezza and the consumption of the same can be linked to hearing problems. Tepezza is manufactured by Horizon Therapeutics and received FDA approval in January 2020. You should browse reliable online resources to know more details about proceeding with filing a Tepezza Hearing Loss Lawsuit.
Apart from medications, hearing loss can be caused by a variety of factors, including the ones mentioned below:
- Age-related changes in the ear
- Exposure to loud noise
- Ear infections or diseases of the ear
- Head injuries
- Genetic factors
- Chronic ear infections
- Blockages of the ear canal
- Neurological disorders
It can be caused by one or multiple factors and can be temporary or permanent.
2. Learn Sign Language
Learning sign language is an important way to communicate with deaf individuals and to show respect for their culture. It allows for better communication and understanding and can help to break down barriers and promote inclusion. Learn it yourself and once you know, advocate for sign language learning in your community.
The most commonly used sign language is ASL, spoken by almost 500,000 people in the USA and Canada. American Sign Language (ASL) is a visual-spatial, natural language with grammar and syntax, distinct from spoken English.
There are many elements of Japanese and Navajo communication cultures woven into ASL, making it a diverse and culturally inclusive mode of communication. ASL relies on palm orientations, hand shapes, hand movements, hand locations, and gestural features like facial expression and posture.
ASL is a beautiful and expressive language that is worth learning. It can open up new ways of communication and understanding for those who are fluent in it.
Being able to sign can also open up new job opportunities, such as working as an interpreter or in a deaf education setting. Additionally, research has shown that learning sign language can also have cognitive benefits, such as improving memory, problem-solving, and multitasking skills.
3. Sensitize Others
Hearing Loss is very common, with almost 15% of adult Americans reporting some problem with hearing, according to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. The same report also mentions that approximately 2 to 3 children out of 1000 are born with considerable hearing loss in one or both ears.
In a scenario where some of our community members suffer from deafness, we need to sensitize friends, neighbors, colleagues, and family members on the acceptable communication protocol. We must be able to create an inclusive environment for our loved ones affected by hearing difficulties.
The tips mentioned below might help in bridging communication gaps.
- Usage of body language, visual aids, and gestures to help convey a message
- Repeating or rephrasing if the person does not understand
- Minimizing background noise and distractions when communicating
- Asking everyone to Speak clearly and at a moderate pace by avoiding mumbling or talking too quickly
- Getting the person’s attention before speaking
- Being patient if the person with hearing loss becomes frustrated or upset
4. Consider Using Assistive Listening Devices
If the hearing loss is partial, some devices can help. Consider these options, too, as you help your loved one cope with hearing problems. Hearing aids and assistive listening devices (ALDs) are important tools for individuals with hearing loss. They can amplify sound, making it easier to hear and understand speech in a variety of different settings.
Hearing aids are small electronic devices that are worn in or behind the ear and amplify sounds to help the person hear better. They come in different types, such as in-the-ear, behind-the-ear, and in-the-canal.
ALDs, on the other hand, are devices that can be used in conjunction with hearing aids or on their own to amplify sound in specific situations, such as in a classroom or during a phone call.
The digital hearing aids market in the USA is expected to touch $13.09 billion by 2030 from $ 7.4 billion in 2022, estimates Greyviews, a Market Research firm. In such a large market, you should be able to find devices suiting your loved one’s requirements and budget.
5. Ensure Regular Hearing Tests
Early detection can help manage hearing loss, preventing further deterioration. Hearing tests and regular visits to an audiologist are important for individuals with partial hearing loss.
Hearing tests, such as pure-tone audiometry and speech audiometry, can help to measure an individual’s hearing sensitivity and ability to understand speech in different settings. Based on the results of these tests, an audiologist can recommend appropriate treatment options, such as hearing aids or assistive listening devices.
Regular visits to an audiologist can also help to monitor changes in hearing over time and ensure that the individual’s hearing aids or other devices are working properly. They can also provide education and counseling on how to best use and maintain the devices and provide tips for coping with hearing loss in everyday life.
Caring for a loved one with hearing loss will need immense patience and understanding on your part. By educating ourselves about the condition, being patient and supportive in our communication, and encouraging them to seek professional help, we can create a more inclusive and supportive environment for our loved ones.
Remember that it’s not just about the person with hearing loss. It’s also about how we, as family, friends, or community members, can support them to improve their quality of life.