Hearing problems are serious. The most important thing you can do if you think you have a hearing problem is to go see a hearing healthcare professional. Your primary doctor may refer you to an otolaryngologist (oh-toe-lair-in-GAH-luh-jist), a doctor who specializes in the ear, nose, and throat. An otolaryngologist will try to find out why you have a hearing loss and offer treatment options.
He or she may also refer you to another hearing professional, who may be an audiologist (aw-dee-AH-luh-jist). An audiologist can measure your hearing. Sometimes otolaryngologists and audiologists work together to find the treatment that is right for you. If you need a hearing aid, an audiologist or hearing aid provider can help you find the right one.
Your friends and family can also help make hearing easier. Here are some things you can do:
Tell your friends and family about your hearing loss. They need to know that hearing is hard for you. The more you tell the people you spend time with, the more they can help you.
Ask your friends and family to face you when they talk so that you can see their faces. If you watch their faces move and see their expressions, it may help you to understand them better.
Ask people to speak louder, but not shout. Tell them they do not have to talk slowly, just more clearly.
Turn off the TV or the radio if it does not have to be on.
Be aware of noise around you that can make hearing more difficult. When you go to a restaurant, do not sit near the kitchen or near a band playing music. Background noise makes it hard to hear people talk.
Working together to hear better may be tough on everyone for a while. It will take time for you to get used to watching people as they talk and for people to get used to speaking louder and more clearly. Be patient and continue to work together. Hearing better is worth the effort.
Hearing Health Magazine's Summer 2012 issue included a profile with Plenty of Options for hearing aids to help you determine which is best for you.