Hearing loss is the fastest growing disability in the world and the largest percentage of people affected by it are fifty years of age and older.
Because the disability is invisible, there is little public awareness about how it affects sufferers and the people they interact with.
It’s easy to take hearing for granted until we lose it. Helen Keller once said - “Blindness separates you from things .... ....deafness separates you from people” - a compelling quote from someone who was blind and deaf.
It’s easy to imagine being blind, just close your eyes. Now try to close your ears and imagine you are deaf and think of the sounds you’ll miss. It’s not that easy.
Living with hearing loss has been described as living in a fish bowl. It can generate a general feeling of isolation.
Communication is our most vital link with other people and the warmest form is the spoken word. That’s why many people prefer a phone call to a letter.
Anyone losing their hearing knows all too well the isolation and frustration caused by miscommunication.
For the average person it takes five to seven years before they even accept that they have a hearing problem and decide to seek help.
It can occur at any age and be caused by noise pollution, accident, illness, medication side effects, the aging process or genetic reasons.
If you are suffering from it or live with someone who is, here's some useful information to help begin to address the problem.
Some signs of hearing loss
Tips for communicating with hard of hearing people
There are some fairly inexpensive assistive listening devices such as amplified phones and personal FM systems.
‘In – ear’ hearing aids, however, can be fairly expensive and can cost several thousand dollars. There are different products available and it’s best to spend time finding out which model is best for you.
It’s advisable meet with a Hearing Loss Consultant before purchasing a hearing aid.
look for a Hard of Hearing Association in your area. They promote self help,
advocacy, information and visibility for people with hearing loss.