Hearing loss doesn’t have to end your social life. Hearing aids can help you control issues associated with having conversations at busy restaurants, and better technologies can even help manage background noise. Better hearing aids will have multiple features such as speech enhancement, adaptive directional microphones, and telecoils to help fine-tune your ability to hear.
Hearing aids are a big step toward leading a full life, but once you have them, there are other things you can do to improve how well your hearing aids work for you to really get the most out of your listening experience.
When you’re having a conversation with someone, try to acknowledge what they’re saying occasionally — a nod of the head, an affirmation — that way they know you’re following the conversation and are hearing what they’re saying.
Likewise, if you can’t hear what they’re saying, don’t be afraid to ask your companion to repeat him or herself. There’s no shame in that, and your companion would rather say something twice and be understood than not at all. Be willing and comfortable acknowledging your hearing difficulty. Most people are very understanding.
If you’re in a noisy restaurant, ask for a quiet table in the back or in a corner — as far away from the kitchen as possible. That way there’s less interference with your ability to hear the conversation with your companions. Sit with your back to the kitchen, the bar, and the loudspeakers so you can focus on the conversation unfolding before you. Your back will also help shield you from some of the interfering noise.
Meetings and classrooms
Show up early to meetings held in conference rooms, big rooms with high ceilings, and classroom lectures. This allows you to size up the room and get the optimal seat for your hearing needs. Avoid windows or heating/cooling equipment if possible, and be aware of sitting with good lighting to avoid glare.
Using your telecoil
The telecoil — a small copper coil built into most hearing aids and cochlear implant processors — can be activated with a simple button or switch on the aid or implant. Essentially, the telecoil works as an antenna, streaming magnetic signals directly to your hearing aid. If a facility is looped to transmit sound, the telecoil can pick it up and direct the sound to the hearing aid. Otherwise, most public venues such as theaters and performance halls will offer assistive listening equipment that can be utilized to better hear and enjoy the event.
Taking a break
If you’re new to hearing aids — and even if you’re not — it’s okay to sit down, take a break, and step away from the extra sound stimulation. If necessary, give yourself a break from your new technology for a few minutes. Dealing with hearing loss and treatment can feel overwhelming — the more you can do to ease the stress load, the better, and if that means just taking a pause to adjust, that’s completely fine.
Are you experiencing hearing loss and need an audiologist? Associated Audiologists has doctoral-level professionals who can help with hearing loss and hearing aids. Contact us today to make an appointment, and prevent hearing problems from affecting your everyday lifestyle.