Some people with hearing loss can go for years not realizing they have this problem. It usually takes a good friend or a spouse to begin the conversation. At first, there may be resistance and even anger at the thought they might need a hearing aid or another treatment, but eventually most concede the problem needs to be addressed.
Preparing For The Visit With An ENT Doctor
It is best to see an otolaryngologist like Dr. Ryan Stern to determine if the hearing loss is related to or caused by some other condition.
It is a good idea to bring someone with you who can listen and learn things you might not hear clearly. Be prepared to discuss how long you think you might have been hearing impaired, if any members of your family have a hearing loss, and if you ever suffered a trauma to your head. Tell Dr. Ryan Stern if you ever had a serious ear infection or meningitis.
Talk about whether you have attended loud rock concerts in the past or if you work with loud machinery. Discuss whether you have trouble talking on the phone.
Mention any chronic medical conditions you have, and talk candidly about whether you are becoming more isolated, spending less time socializing or if you are depressed.
All of this information will give the specialist an overall view of your hearing loss, how long you might have had it, and what might be the cause.
Come Prepared With Questions
Written questions prepared ahead are always best.
You should ask about the severity of your hearing loss and if Dr. Stern expects it to get worse.
Ask about the benefits of some type of surgery or if hearing aids will help.
Ask whether your hearing loss is permanent and if both ears are affected. Is there a difference between both ears?
You can ask about which type of treatment is best for you: hearing aids or implanted devices?
Ask about learning sign language if you are interested, and if you might need speech and language therapy.
Time To “Speak Up”
Don’t stay silent if you are suffering with a hearing loss whether it is mild or severe, has developed with age, or has an underlying cause. Find out everything you need to know and the possible treatments best for you.
There is a demonstrated association between hearing loss and cognitive decline, which comes prior to dementia. Hearing loss should not be ignored. You might only need a simple hearing aid, but getting treated will enhance your quality of life.