The holidays are filled with gatherings that bring loved ones together. While this is an exciting time for people reuniting, it can present specific challenges for people with hearing loss. Over 48 million people live with hearing loss, the third most common chronic condition in the U.S. Though it is a pervasive health issue, hearing loss still tends to be undertreated. In fact, the National Institutes of Health estimates that only one-third of people who could benefit from hearing loss treatment actually do.
Untreated hearing loss can have massive effects on daily life including straining communication, social withdrawal, and increasing the risk of developing other medical conditions. As you are preparing for the holidays and planning on being around family and friends, one of the best ways to stay connected is by treating hearing loss. Treatment maximizes hearing capacity, allowing you to navigate social gatherings and communication with greater ease!
How Treatment Helps You Stay Connected
Untreated hearing loss produces numerous symptoms that have multifaceted effects on daily life. Symptoms like tinnitus (buzzing or ringing noise in the ears), speech sounding distorted or muffled, and difficulty identifying words make it challenging to engage in conversation. Strained communication can lead to social withdrawal, tension in relationships, impact work performance, and overall health. Untreated hearing loss increases the risk of experiencing cognitive decline, accidental injuries, and depression. Addressing hearing loss as early as possible is critical to protecting health and wellness.
Fortunately, there are effective ways that hearing loss is treated. Treatment offers countless benefits that truly improve quality of life, this includes helping people stay connected with others. The most common treatment for hearing loss is hearing aids. These are electronic devices that are designed to detect, amplify, and process sound. This provides the ears and brain – which work together to process and understand sound – with significant support; allowing people to hear and communicate easier. Hearing aids provide major benefits including:
- enhancing communication: hearing aids alleviate hearing loss symptoms, enabling people to navigate communication without the stress and barriers these symptoms create. With hearing aids, people are able to hear sounds they likely haven’t heard in some time and this increased capacity to hear allows people to fully participate in conversations.
- improving relationships: effective communication is key for relationships. Untreated hearing loss often leaves loved ones feeling unheard, ignored, and frustrated. This can lead to tension and distance in relationships. Treatment strengthens communication which supports people spending quality time with others, having smooth conversations, and enjoying the intimacy and small moments of being with loved ones.
- enriching social engagement: hearing aids maximize hearing capacity which supports people navigate social settings and interactions. People are better able to fully engage and participate in social activities which enhance connection and social life.
These benefits support people feeling their best. Treating hearing loss and having a greater capacity to hear and communicate is especially helpful during the holidays. This can enrich your conversations and engagement with others during this festive time of the year!
Tips for Effective Communication During the Holidays
In addition to treating hearing loss, there are several strategies you can use during holiday gatherings for effective communication. This includes:
- Reduce background noise. Turn down unnecessary sources of noise like music or the television which can be distracting and make it harder to hear what others are saying.
- Strategic seating. Avoid sitting in noisier spots like near sources of noise (speaker, kitchen, etc.) and sit where you can see most people.
- Face the speaker. Be sure to face the person speaking which allows you to access their face and nonverbal cues that better helps with following a conversation.
- Take turns talking. This is especially helpful with multiple people at a gathering where simultaneous voices and conversations can make it challenging to hear.
- Share needs. Advocate for your hearing needs which includes speaking up when you don’t hear something and sharing strategies that maximize your hearing!
Practicing these strategies are simple ways to support your hearing and communication which can ease any anxiety and stress you may feel about attending social gatherings.
Hearing Loss Treatment with Mt. Hood Hearing
Treating hearing loss can transform the holidays! Call our team at Mt. Hood Hearing to schedule an appointment for a hearing consultation and to learn more about prioritizing your hearing health.