A lot has changed over the last 18 months. Our social practices have had to be adjusted as well as our social schedules. Among those things that have adapted to a “new norm” is your hearing.
Whether you have hearing aids or perfectly healthy hearing, chances are your ears are not listening the same way they used to. It’s essential to recognize any changes that may have occurred during the national stay-at-home orders to ensure you are prepared to return to the activities you enjoyed pre-COVID-19.
I wanted to share some crucial advice you might find useful as you get back to leading a normal lifestyle again.
Be Kind To Your Hearing As It Readapts
After being at home or in limited group situations for so long, louder environments may be challenging. Remember to try the restaurant setting on your hearing aids. It’s designed to help you hear those in front of you better.
If someone is sitting beside you, you may still have trouble hearing them in the restaurant setting unless you turn toward them to bring their voice into the area of focus.
Don’t forget that you are not alone – even people with ordinary hearing struggle in noisy situations. If you only have one ear that you can rely on, noisy situations are the worst. Your brain is designed to process sound from two sides, not just one; therefore, all the speech and noise cannot be separated.
Take advantage of visual cues when you can, and don’t be afraid to ask for clarification. However, instead of saying “huh” or “what,” ask for clarification of the part you didn’t hear. For example, “What time did you say we were leaving?” or “You couldn’t find the what?” This makes it easier to focus on the one or two words you missed instead of having to hear the whole statement again.
Be Mindful Of Your New Hearing Environments
If an environment is loud enough where you must shout to be heard, it is loud enough to damage your hearing.
The longer you are in that noisy environment, the higher your likelihood of acquiring a hearing loss. If you have ever been to a loud venue and your ears ring after, you have caused some minor damage to the hair cells in your cochlea. From this, they can typically recover.
Repeated abuse of your hair cells will cause damage that they cannot recover from, leading to permanent hearing loss. There are some great options for hearing protection.
Custom plugs are comfortable and can be created with filters that allow you to hear but keep your hearing safe. With hunting season around the corner, you can also look into electronic hunting plugs. They are awesome!
If you’d like to find out more about custom hearing protection, contact us to see how we can help.
Ensure Your Hearing Aid Settings Are Up To Date
1. If they are not set “loud” enough, you will still struggle to hear.
2. If they are set too loud, then you can suffer more damage to your hearing.
The easiest thing to do is make an appointment to have them cleaned & checked and receive an updated hearing assessment to ensure your settings can be adjusted if your hearing needs have changed. Your hearing aids’ parts need to be cleaned or replaced regularly for optimal performance.
If it’s been a while since they have been serviced, this can lead to malfunction. If they are found to be working well, then any change in your hearing can make them seem like they are not functioning as they once did.
How Has COVID-19 Affected The Hard Of Hearing?
The biggest challenge for those with a hearing loss and many who believed they had normal hearing pre-COVID-19 is the absence of visual cues due to face masks.
Communication is more complicated than ever because we all rely on lip reading and facial cues to a certain extent but more so if you have a hearing loss. Face masks also muffle certain speech sounds, making it even more challenging to understand what someone is saying.
We will all face our own unique challenges, but it’s important to remember that you have a team of professionals on your side. Even if you suspect nothing has changed with your hearing, we still recommend a comprehensive hearing assessment.
These tests show us how you hear, and with that information, we can devise a long-term plan to either improve your hearing or maintain it.
If you have any questions, please call us at your earliest convenience to discuss your concerns.
We are happy to help all of our neighbors in the Midland area and beyond.