Hearing loss can seem daunting, with its ability to affect relationships, self‑confidence, physical health, and more. Taking charge of it, however, can go a long way toward keeping you feeling empowered and engaged.
Start with these 10 helpful do’s and don’ts:
- DO know that you’re not alone. Hearing loss is a growing public-health challenge — the third most chronic condition in the U.S. and Canada. Science is always on the case, however, and effective solutions are available right now.
- DO stay atop your hearing health with regular checkups — just as you would for your eyes and teeth. Early intervention with the help of a licensed hearing care provider can make a big difference in your quality of life.
- DO maintain your hearing aids, which are powerful but require care. DIY cleaning, storage, wax-guard changing, and battery-charging are easy tasks. Bring your devices in periodically for professional clean and checks, too!
- DO explore your devices. Some of today’s hearing aids not only stream phone calls and other audio directly to your ears but can interact with innovative apps, handle remote fine-tuning, loop into venue sound systems, and more.
- DO try to optimize your communication environment with steps such as facing your conversation partner, sitting away from noise, choosing spots with good lighting (for lip-reading), and giving helpful feedback — including nonverbal cues or words of encouragement — to the person speaking.
- DON’T ignore hearing issues. Hearing acuity can change over time — or due to injury, medication, or infection — making it important to seek help if listening clearly or understanding certain sounds seems harder than it used to be.
- DON’T forget the importance of good nutrition, which can play a role in ear and hearing health. A recent Brigham and Women’s Hospital study, for example, found that certain dietary practices may help curb the risk of hearing impairment by 30% or more.
- DON’T tolerate excess noise, which can lead to hearing loss or worsen an existing hearing problem. Loud sounds are among the most common and preventable causes, so limit your exposure and keep quality hearing protection on hand.
- DON’T hide hearing loss from loved ones. Family members — also affected when someone has a hearing issue — report improvements in relationships, social life, and more when the problem is addressed. Consider tackling it together.
- DON’T deny yourself compassion and patience. Adjusting to new hearing technology can take time and some fine-tuning, so expect adjustments and know that it’s all about ensuring you’re hearing — and living — your best.
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