Many Australians suffer from hearing loss. A large percentage of the population has done nothing about their hearing loss and is therefore experiencing significant difficulties. Hearing loss can negatively affect daily life in a variety of ways. Hearing loss can affect you at home, at work, in social situations and can even negatively affect your safety. Let’s look at how this is done. We will then look at some strategies you can use to help your hearing abilities in these environments.
Impact of hearing loss at home:
Hearing impairments not only affect the person with a disability, but also his significant others. Hearing loss can have a negative impact on our relationships and communication with others in our home environment. As human beings, we rely on social connections with other people. Social connections are created and maintained through our interaction with each other. A way to communicate and build these relationships with others can be through conversations. Hearing loss affects the way we communicate with others and can therefore affect our relationships. In relationships in which there is a person with hearing loss, the following may be true:
- Disappointment, sparking arguments and impatience can occur
- Communication is minimized due to difficulties in interaction and they talk to each other only when necessary, e.g. To ask a question or give information, not for social reasons.
- The connection is highly dependent on communication, which means that the depth of the connection may suffer
People in their lives may distance themselves from them because their communication is not what it once was. They may feel rejected if the person with the hearing loss does not respond to them or withdraws socially due to their inability to engage in conversation. They may be confused because they do not understand what their partner is going through. They may feel sad for their partner and what they have to deal with. They may also feel angry or frustrated with the need to repeat themselves or take a lot of relaxation during a conversation.
Impact of hearing loss in the workplace:
Hearing loss also has a big impact on the workplace. Workplaces have listening conditions that are more complex and difficult than other environments such as the home. The employee also has less control over listening conditions in the workplace, so coping strategies that they typically use in other aspects of their daily lives may not provide benefits in the workplace. Technologies, such as hearing aids, that they use in other listening environments may also not be enough. Most jobs also tend to rely on communication.
People with hearing loss in the workplace can face discrimination. They may find that hearing loss prevents them from interacting at work. They may also find that this prevents them from having the opportunity for further training. This may even affect their chances of promotion. There are cases when a hearing-impaired employee has moved to work due to their poor attitude in the workplace. Hearing impaired workers often feel that their colleagues do not understand their hearing loss. They also often feel that their jobs do not provide enough accommodation to fit in better.
People with hearing loss in the workplace they may find that they have high levels of fatigue and limited energy. They may be afraid of what others will think of them and often avoid communicating with colleagues. They may also hide that they have hearing loss and feel embarrassed and self-conscious.
Impact of hearing loss on social life:
Hearing loss can negatively affect people’s social lives. People with hearing loss can withdraw socially and avoid meeting new people, starting relationships and keeping existing ones, as they cannot handle the conversation. They may prefer to withdraw and isolate themselves.
They are also less likely to have many activities in which they do not have hearing aids. This is because the things they used to do may not be as pleasant as they have hearing problems in these environments / situations, such as golf or a bridge.
They may also avoid going out to meet friends in cafes, restaurants and clubs, as they have hearing difficulties in a noisy environment and the effort required to listen is too much. For example, modern restaurants have poor acoustics (high ceilings and hard surfaces that sound reflects), which makes it very difficult for people with hearing impairments to communicate with others.
Impact of hearing loss on safety
Hearing loss can also negatively affect people’s safety. Those with hearing loss who do not wear hearing aids may be at risk of accidents. For those with significant hearing loss who do not wear hearing aids, they may not be able to hear important warning signals. For example, inability to hear important safety instructions, horns when crossing the road, traffic noise before stepping on the road, emergency sirens of the vehicle, smoke alarms in the home, security alarms, PA system messages (e.g. At the stations), and people call them.
Difficulties with hearing loss are highlighted, but it is important if someone who deals with hearing loss, if you know someone who knows it, knows some coping strategies. Here are some coping strategies that can help reduce the negative impact of hearing loss on your daily routine.
- Reduce background noise, such as turning off the TV when talking to other people
- I’m trying hearing aids and other listening devices, such as television headsets
- Ask for specific repetitions to show that you have listened, e.g. “How did you say the name of this store was?”
- Do not talk to each other from other rooms
- Make sure you can see the other person’s face to help with reading and lip expression
At the work place
- Inform your colleagues about your hearing loss.
- Ask people to stand up to you and speak slowly and clearly
- Ask people to get your attention before they talk to you.
- Ask for accommodation, e.g. One speaker at a time, minutes from after-discussion meetings to make sure you haven’t missed anything
- Try hearing aids and other listening devices, such as a remote microphone.
- Choose places (cafes / restaurants) with good acoustics. Make sure they have low ceilings and upholstered furniture to absorb some of the noise.
- Avoid places with live bands or loud music that make conversation difficult
- Choose quieter places or go when they are less busy.
- If the place has background music, ask the staff to refuse it.
- Choose a table away from any doors, kitchens or tables with noisy children.
- Ask people to get your attention before talking to you.
- Try hearing aids and other listening devices.
Hearing loss can negatively affect many aspects of your daily life, including at home, at work and in social situations, as well as your safety. Fortunately, there are a few basic strategies to help you hear in these environments. It is important to get your hearing tested perform an initial test and determine if there is any hearing loss that needs to be corrected. Call yours local audiologist for a hearing test today.