Managing Hearing Loss

According to the nonprofit hearing organization Hear-It, 35 million Americans, or 11 percent of the population, are hearing-impaired. More than 25 million of those people do not have a hearing aid, data from 2008 shows. The number of people with hearing impairments increased nine percent from 2005 to 2008; more than 40 million people are expected to be in that group by 2025. As such, hearing loss is a major health issue across the United States. Learn more about the different methods of managing hearing loss available to you.

Removing wax blockage

The Mayo Clinic cites blockage due to earwax as a common, reversible cause of hearing loss. The ear canal is a sensitive area, and you should refrain from trying to clean or remove a wax blockage yourself. A doctor or medical practitioner may be able to remove the wax by first loosening it with oil and then flushing or suctioning out the softened wax. Always consult your doctor if you think you have a problem with excessive wax.

Hearing aids

A hearing aid may be able to improve your hearing significantly if your hearing loss has been caused by damage to the inner ear. A hearing aid will be able to make sounds stronger and easier for you to hear. A specialized audiologist can discuss with you the benefits of using a hearing aid. The Mayo Clinic advises that only an audiologist should recommend and fit a proper hearing aid for you. If your hearing loss is less severe, you may be able to use an over-the-ear device, which you can buy cheaply and easily at an electronics store.

Cochlear implant

In cases of severe hearing loss, a cochlear implant may be the recommended solution. This is a surgically placed device that, unlike a hearing aid, replaces damaged or nonworking parts of the inner ear. A cochlear implant may not be suitable in all patients, however. An audiologist or a medical doctor can recommend this course of treatment to ensure that the right procedure for you.

Lifestyle adjustments

Depending on the severity of your hearing problem, changing the way in which you complete daily routines can help you manage hearing loss. For example, it can help to position yourself in the right way to hear what other people are saying. Try to remove background noise (such as a television or radio) if you are trying to have a conversation. Choose quiet places in bars, restaurants and public places to give yourself the best chance to hear what others are saying. Make sure that your friends, family members and colleagues understand that you have a hearing problem so they can help you manage it, too. You can ask them to speak more clearly once they know you have trouble hearing. Devices are also available to amplify sounds when using the television or telephone.

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