Veteran’s Day recently passed, but it’s important for us to celebrate our brave heroes every day, and be cognizant of the specific needs and struggles of veterans in our daily lives. According to the Veteran’s Administration, hearing loss and tinnitus are the most commonly experienced conditions amongst returning Veterans. Combine this with the fact that our population is aging and our environment is becoming noisier – there are a lot of people who are currently learning to live with hearing loss.
One of these people is Texas based blogger Gayle Raif. Gayle became completely deaf at the age of 33. Some of the following are personal insights and suggestions on how to live with hearing loss, as a returning veteran or a citizen, as reported by the Longview News-Journal. Some of the following are suggestions from AZ Balance & Hearing Aids, based on our own experiences with clients as well as our own families.
Being the person who has been affected by hearing loss – you may feel like your whole world has changed. You can no longer hear or understand the world in a way that you used to. This can be both scary and frustrating. While you work through accepting and understanding your hearing loss, it is important to remember that it also affects those around you.
It is extremely important to discuss your hearing loss with your spouse or loved ones and really listen to what they have to say. Try to have conversations in a quiet room, facing each other, when both people are calm and ready for a healthy conversation. Use “I” statements as much as possible. For example the person with hearing loss may state, “I feel ______ when ________ because I cannot hear or understand you”. The partner without hearing loss may say, “I feel _________ during _________ because I feel like I am not sure how to help you understand better”. Just remember that whatever your loved one is sharing with you is not an insult, it is an honest concern because they want to improve their communication with you.
As you’re talking, remember that you have years of bad habits to break. You might not even notice how often you talk to each other from other rooms or with your backs to each other. If both of you make an effort to acknowledge and change these habits, your communication will improve more quickly after your hearing loss.
If you attend church or a lecture, sit as close to the front as possible. It is also a good idea to know how to turn on your hearing aids to be able to pick up on “Hearing Loops”. Hearing Loops allow hearing aid users to get the speaker’s voice (or orchestra music, or movie sounds etc.) streamed directly to your hearing aids. If you are having a meeting or choosing a table at a restaurant, sitting in a circle is ideal. This way, you are able to face each person in the group, and you won’t have to communicate with anyone without seeing their lips.
In recent years, hearing aid technology has absolutely skyrocketed. There are many devices to choose from, all packed with different features to improve your quality of life based on your lifestyle, hearing profile, preferences and budget. At Arizona Balance and Hearing Aids, we will be able to help you find the perfect aid to jumpstart your adjustment to living with hearing loss.
It is important to remember that hearing aids will not solve all your problems. You will still need to communicate with your loved ones about hearing loss and use strategies to set yourself up for success. However, doing this will be much less stressful with the right hearing aids at the right adjustments!
At Arizona Balance & Hearing Aids, we wanted to take the time to honor and thank all the heroes who have risked their lives to protect our country and freedoms. We truly respect each and every member of the armed forces who work tirelessly and sometimes thanklessly to make sure we live in a safe and free country. We salute you!