How Treating Hearing Loss Improves Your Relationships

How Treating Hearing Loss Improves Your Relationships

The modern world we live in today is a world of constant communication. Now more than ever it is so easy to contact most of your friends, family and coworkers at the touch of a button. The presence of smartphones and Internet virtually everywhere is rapidly changing how we communicate through text, memes, group chats and more. Information is everywhere and a simple search can give us the answers to almost anything we can even think to ask. Even with this constant buzz of information, communication is still the foundation of a healthy relationship, out and about, at work or at home. When there is a breakdown of communication relationships become strained and this is certainly the case for those of us who are living with hearing loss and have not treated it.

Struggling with Speech Recognition

As hearing loss progresses the ability to hear and comprehend speech will begin to suffer. It is common to misconstrue what is being communicated in conversations that include many speakers but this can become even more exaggerated when living with hearing loss. Understanding what is being said becomes frustrating as hearing loss weakens our ability to interpret between multiple voices speaking simultaneously. This comes into play at parties, gatherings, busy restaurants and sporting events. It is common for people struggling with hearing loss to ask others to repeat themselves, but often after this becomes normalized in a person’s life, they grow tired or embarrassed and refrain from asking people to repeat themselves at all. This can lead to a person isolating and socially withdrawing. Because speech and communication are key to our relationships work and fun, it is imperative to restore your understanding of speech in cases of people living with untreated hearing loss.

The Benefits of Improved Communication

Any relationship will suffer when you cannot clearly communicate whether you are at work or at home with the closest people in your life.  Fortunately, treatment with hearing aids can improve relationships in so many ways after an extended to living with strained communication due to hearing loss.

  • Improved Intimacy – Hearing loss can create a divide when people cannot understand each other.
  • Improved Independence –Hearing aids can give you the independence to go out on your own again with out having to rely on others to interpret what is being said.
  • Reduced Arguments – When miscommunication becomes a regular staple of the day conflict is not far off.

Not only is do hearing aids help your relationships but untreated hearing loss also greatly affects a person’s social life, with increased stress, anxiety, and depression. Untreated hearing loss has also been linked to risk of dementia, falls, and hospitalizations. By treating hearing loss with hearing aids, people are able to re- engage socially as they once did before hearing loss was present.

What to Do if You Are Living with Hearing Loss

Hearing loss can develop slowly over time, making it not so easy to identify right away. It can creep up on you and before you know it you are having trouble hearing even in the best of listening situations. However, if you know the common signs of hearing loss then you have the tools necessary to admit you have a problem and get your hearing tested.

Hearing Aids and Your Relationships

Once you start using hearing aids the way you interact with the world often changes drastically. You can be more connected to the people you love, feel more engaged in social situations, navigate a crowded room of conversation and even stay more connected at work. Sadly, people living with hearing loss often wait an average of seven years before they decide to take the leap and take a hearing exam. Don’t be part of this statistic. If you are noticing that you are asking people to repeat themselves more than before if is most likely not that people are not speaking clearly but an issue with your hearing. Fortunately hearing tests are quick and painless and once you know the out come, you can have the information to seek the help you need to keep your self involved with the relationships in your life that make life worth living.

Treating Hearing Loss Helps You Stay Socially Connected

Treating Hearing Loss Helps You Stay Socially Connected

If you are finding yourself asking people to repeat themselves or having trouble following conversations in a noisy environment with many people speaking at once you might not want to admit it but you are probably living with untreated hearing loss.  While no one wants to deal with hearing loss, not treating the condition can have far worse complications. Living with hearing loss doesn’t only mean having to ask people to repeat themselves or having to turn the volume on the television or radio louder than before. The affects of hearing loss bleed into every aspect of your life, including your mental health, physical health, professional success and your most precious relationships.  All of this ultimately can have major negative consequences on your social life, causing higher occurrences of depression, anxiety and social isolation.

Hearing Loss and Social Isolation

When you can not follow the conversation in group settings or have to ask people to repeat themselves over and over again it can seem like a more alluring scenario to avoid social situations all together.  This however only makes your struggle more acute. Humans are social creatures and we rely on social life to keep us engaged and satisfied with life. When you social isolate due to hearing loss your mobility becomes limited. You become be reliant on others to navigate your everyday needs impacting your self-esteem, you self-confidence and independence in navigating the world.

Being social keeps us connected to the people we are closest to and ultimately it’s these relationships that make us feel excited about life and our projects. If you cannot hear what your loved ones are trying to tell you or you feel constantly misunderstood it can have a major impact on your priceless relationships.  Not only that but if you can not hear and participate in professional setting this will have major consequences on how much your bosses and co-workers rely on you. This creates less opportunity to succeed and earn and work.

Most hearing loss develops slowly through out your life so it can often become very acute before we or our loved ones begin to notice the severity of the condition. When it becomes a challenge to hear on the phone people my often choose to stop making phone calls and reaching out as they once did. Once these social patterns become established it can become a huge hurtle to reconnect with friends and loved ones, if a hearing loss stays unaddressed and untreated.

Hearing Loss and Anxiety

Anxiety sadly can become associated with untreated hearing loss as the stress of not being able to engage in social situations becomes more and more of an issue. Not only that but traveling out into the world can be nerve racking when you can’t hear what people are saying to you or cues in traffic are harder to hear.  In this case untreated hearing loss can become a major safety concern. It’s not wonder why untreated hearing loss can cause major anxiety.

Hearing Loss and Depression

When you become socially isolated due to hearing loss depression is not far behind. When you feel Hearing loss compromises our ability to connect with others. When we aren’t able to understand others, we tend to avoid conversation all together. It is just so important to not let untreated hearing loss progress to this point. Depression is no small matter and can be detrimental to an individual’s health, especially as we age. Fortunately treatment for hearing loss is painless and easier than you might believe.

Seeking Treatment

If the people closest to you are telling you that you might have a hearing loss or you are suspecting it yourself now is as good of a time as any to seek help, before the symptoms of hearing loss progress to a heightened stage. The first step is to schedule a hearing test.  Once the audiologist or hearing health care professional has helped you understand exactly the nature of your hearing loss then you can take the leap to using hearing aids. Why delay treating hearing loss when it can mean losing so much of what we enjoy in life?  Hearing aids can improve your connectivity and restore your ability to communicate again. It is too big of a deal to ignore any longer when the benefits of treatment are so easily attainable.

The Benefits of Being Social for Older Americans

The Benefits of Being Social for Older Americans

The thought of watching the television from the comfort of the sofa may be more attractive to many senior citizens than a stroll with a friend, or a movie night. For many reasons, keeping an active social life can also slip to the lowest of a senior citizen’s list of concerns. There may be mobility or health issues to consider, or you may live too far away from family and friends.

But if you thought that not having an active social life might not negatively impact your health and longevity, you might want to think again.

The dangers of isolation

Isolation is more than a simple lonely feeling. A lack of interaction with others can result in poor mental wellbeing, high blood pressure and an overall health decline. Studies show that older adults struggling with depression and loneliness have a higher death rate than those who are more content with their lives and relationships, making social participation just as crucial as other measures to preserve emotional and physical health.

There are three main benefits of being more social as an older adult.

1. A lowered risk of Dementia

Socializing is crucial to keeping the brain active as we age, according to a study by the University of Rochester Medical Center. Having an active social life inspires us to continue learning, observe and respond to the environment around us. Conversation is a great mental exercise and can theoretically reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

2. Helps maintain independence

Seniors don’t want to feel inadequate, and they don’t have to be. You will feel more energized and in control of your own decisions with active socialization and participation in various activities, as opposed to sitting in front of the TV. You may decide to take part, for instance, in painting classes or gardening.

By being socially active and choosing different groups to meet up with, the act of making one’s own decisions can lead to a greater sense of independence. You will maintain your dignity, self-confidence, and independence when engaging with other seniors who are also healthy and active, making a happier and healthier life possible.

3. More physically healthy

A study released in The Journals of Gerontology, Behavioral Sciences and Social Sciences showed that older adults who talked to people outside their normal family circle and close friends were more likely to experience higher levels of physical activity, more positive moods and fewer negative feelings.

The rationale? The scientists indicated that while older adults may be more inactive when they’re with their close friends and family— for example, watching TV together or sitting at home — they need to physically leave the house to interact with other people and will get more exercise in that way.

A good social life takes conscious effort

Before retirement, our social lives tended to grow organically. We met friends through school or our jobs. But when we’re no longer working or studying, meeting people and staying socially active requires more of a conscious effort.

Some of these proactive measures could include volunteering with local organizations, participating in a religious group, going to a senior center for services, visiting friends or family, or joining a group that focuses on common interests. Research shows that the rewards of maintaining relationships are well worth the time and effort, no matter how we choose to socialise.

Treating hearing loss helps you be more socially active

For many seniors, there are roadblocks to staying socially active. Untreated hearing loss contributes greatly to social isolation. You may not want to be with people as much, and when you are you may not engage in conversation as much.

But that all changes when you seek treatment. Surveys show that about 8 in 10 wearers with hearing aids see improvements in their overall happiness. They record less physical and mental fatigue than non-wearers, better sleep, less stress, and stronger family relationships. The explanation is simple: hearing loss makes us feel lonely and cut off from the world by failing to hear those nearest to us in our daily lives.

New hearing aids incorporate cutting edge technology and special microphones, enabling wearers to clearly understand their speaking partner even in noisy conditions such as a crowded bar or restaurant. Some also deliver sleek styles and feature Bluetooth connectivity. That way, straight through your hearing aids, you can take cell phone calls, and stream music and TV audio.

Evergreen Audiology Clinic

Most people wait for too long before they evaluate their hearing, and live with several years of hearing loss until getting treatment. Do not make this mistake. For the sake of your social life, get your hearing tested and take control of your hearing. To schedule your hearing test, contact us at Evergreen Audiology Clinic today.

Addressing Hearing Loss May Improve Care of Older Adults

Addressing Hearing Loss May Improve Care of Older Adults

At Evergreen Audiology Clinic, we think everyone deserves to have better hearing. For each individual, their hearing loss is unique and we treat everyone as an individual, like a family member that needs our help. The first step to get help for you, or a loved one, is calling for a hearing evaluation.  Many people look on hearing loss as a natural part of aging – it is – but it also can be treated. If your vision needs correcting, you don’t hesitate to get glasses – it should be the same principle with hearing aids!

Researchers have found adults in health care facilities or adults getting treatment at medical facilities, frequently have untreated hearing loss. Treating their hearing loss, making testing part of a usual admittance procedure, they found, would go a long way towards improving care.

The Elderly and Hearing Loss

The World Health Organization has determined hearing loss affects nearly a third, about 32%, of the population over the age of 65 around the world. Hearing loss is growing and is now the fourth leading cause of what is being called a global disability. But medical personnel, it has been found, tend to overlook hearing loss when treating the elderly.

Care at a medical facility is often delivered in an atmosphere that includes beeping alarms and noise from machines, competing conversations from the adjacent bed and poor sound insulation in private rooms. There is also competition from the television and now, electronic devices that may or may not be allowed in the room. People with hearing loss struggle to understand what they are being told and what the implications of their treatment options are.

Hearing loss isn’t a problem of sound, but a problem of sound processing. Individuals with mild to moderate age-related hearing loss can hear sound and have a general understanding of what is being said if the environment is ideal. Ideal would be in a room with little competing ambient sound with a speaker directly facing them, talking to them. Understanding decreases if the speaker is faced away or if there are multiple speakers.

Now, think about a hospital room – there’s a doctor staring down at a chart talking, a nurse also looking at notes responding, machines running, the television on and perhaps a patient in the next bed talking to a relative or friend. Even for those who hear well, there’s a chance of getting conflicting information.

Medical Professionals and Health Care Issues

The hearing impaired often complain that medical professionals show a lack of empathy and understanding about hearing loss. They feel those in the healthcare profession don’t have a proper understanding about how stressful it is for a hearing-impaired patient to try and understand and follow a conversation involving medical care and options. There are studies that show doctors make fewer visits to the rooms of hearing-impaired patients and spend less time in the room when the do visit. Patients with hearing loss are frequently re-admitted for treatment after their release from a medical facility because they may not have fully understood directions on aftercare as well as pain management.

Health Care Communication Suggestions

According to the American Family Physician Journal, family physicians for elderly patients should make sure if they recommend treatment at a medical facility for their patients, the patient’s chart is flagged with the information that they have hearing issues and care must be taken to communicate properly with the individual.
It is helpful, the author goes on to say, if the attending physician discusses with the patient and the patient’s family, what the best communication option is for the patient. It may require writing out notes or typing into a device. The patient may need a sign language interpreter.

It may be as simple as facing the patient while talking, turning off the television and reducing distracting sound. It could be helpful to ask the patient to repeat back what they just learned. If there is a particular family member that seems to communicate better with the patient, they can be used as a go-between.

Evergreen Audiology

Hearing loss can be frustrating and the technology surrounding hearing aids can be confusing. At Evergreen Audiology, we’re ready to help you navigate through the technology so you can get hearing aids that suit you and your lifestyle!

Things People with Hearing Loss Wish You Knew

Things People with Hearing Loss Wish You Knew

Hearing loss of course one’s ability to hear what is happening in the world around them in so many ways. When someone is experiencing hearing loss, conversations can be all but impossible to follow. People with hearing loss may very well be able to hear a given conversation, but that does not mean that they can necessarily understand and follow the exact words being stated. The activity of hearing can be especially difficult in crowded spaces and in places with multiple, overlapping sounds happening, such as restaurants as cafes. Hearing loss can make everyday activities such as watching TV difficult.

If someone you know is experiencing hearing loss, they are likely going through many intense changes in all aspects of their life. Hearing loss deeply impacts people’s ability to feel engaged in and connected to world—and this disconnection can be exacerbated by well-intentioned friends and loved ones who do not understand what hearing loss feels like. These are four things that it is important to know when it comes to people who are experiencing hearing loss.

Hearing loss can happen to people of all ages

There is a common and pervasive stereotype that old people are the only ones who have hearing loss. Hearing loss can occur as the result of temporary and prolonged loud noises, however, which means that people of all ages are susceptible. People working in loud environments with, for example, heavy machinery, are susceptible to hearing loss, as are people who wear in-ear headphones and listen to music loudly Understanding that the hearing loss your friend or loved one is experiencing is not abnormal but can be a mix of biological and environmental issues is a key step to understanding the emotional experiences they are simultaneously having.

Hearing loss changes how people communicate

You do not need to shout or speak excessively slowly when you are talking with people experiencing hearing loss. What you do need to do is practice good communication habits. People with hearing loss can have a hard time distinguishing amongst many different sounds, which makes it difficult for them to communicate in places with a lot of noise or in conversations where many people are talking at once. Be conscious of whether the person you are talking to prefers to hear out of one ear over the other, or if they need you to establish eye contact with them before you start speaking with them. If you want to have important or direct conversations with loved ones experiencing hearing loss, choose sites with minimal external noises to make it easier. Above all, don’t be afraid to ask what communication needs your friend or loved one experiencing hearing loss may need.

Hearing loss takes an adjustment period

Patience is key. Managing healthy hearing habits can be physically and emotionally exhausting and it certainly does not help to be surrounded by people who are impatient, who do not want to adjust their own communication habits, or who alienate people with hearing loss. If you are frustrated while communicating with someone experiencing hearing loss, imagine how they feel losing their abilities to fully engage with people and their surroundings. The more you can create an open and caring environment for people to adjust to their changing hearing and communication needs, the better off everyone will be.

Hearing aids have come a long way

The more you know about hearing aids, the better support you can provide to your friend or loved one experiencing hearing loss. Hearing aids are no longer large devices that ran out of batteries quickly, produced high pitched noises, and malfunction without reason. In this day and age, high-tech, low-profile hearing aids have flooded the market. They range from efficient behind-the-ear devices that will provide hours of crisp and clear hearing with strong and lasting batteries to sleek, in-ear-canal devices that are largely invisible to the naked eye. More often than not, new hearing aids come equipped with Bluetooth connectivity, some have directional microphones, and they make it easy to save hearing settings based on the spaces you frequent. Participating in your friend or loved one’s journey selecting and adjusting to a new hearing aid without judgement will go a long way in ensuring their emotional well-being.

Evergreen Audiology

Have you experienced changes in your hearing? Are you concerned that a loved one might be struggling with hearing loss? Evergreen Audiology is here to help. We provide comprehensive hearing health services, from hearing tests to hearing aid fittings to custom hearing protection. Contact us today to learn more.

Talking about Hearing Loss: Why Your Disclosure Method Matters

Talking about Hearing Loss: Why Your Disclosure Method Matters

How you talk about your hearing loss can greatly improve your overall communication patterns and help you feel much more integrated into your rich social life. It is sometimes surprising to learn that talking about your hearing loss to friends, loved ones, and co-workers can be quite difficult. Talking about you hearing loss can be even more difficult to discuss with people who you don’t even know, or don’t know all that well, from strangers to people that you work with. There are many different ways to disclose your hearing abilities to other people, however, and finding one that suits your personality and needs is very important to your well-being.

The Importance of Disclosing Hearing Loss

Though it seems like common sense, it should go without saying that you should tell people that you cannot hear in ways that they might be expecting. Of course, it can be frustrating to feel like it’s your job to tell people about your hearing loss and to explain to them your needs.

Despite how frustrating it can be, it is important to talk about your hearing capabilities so that you can maintain the best, healthiest communication with the people around you. According to Konstantina Stankovic, M.D., Ph.D., FACS, who is an otologic surgeon and researcher at Massachusetts Eye and Ear and an associate professor of otolaryngology at Harvard Medical School, knowing about the multiple kinds of disclosure methods that are available to you—and picking one that suits your needs—has ripple effects across other parts of your life.

Stankovic helped conduct a study about hearing loss and disclosure methods, and writes, “We think it can be empowering for patients to know that these strategies, and especially the multipurpose disclosure strategy, are available to them.” She continues, “Hearing loss is an invisible disability; however, asking people to slow down or face someone with hearing loss while speaking may improve communication.”

Levels of Disclosure

Stanvokic’s conclusions are derived from a 2015 study that she and her team published in the Ear and Hearing journal. In this study, they discuss the strategies 300 people in the study have for disclosing their hearing loss. They found that there are multiple tiers of disclosure that people often use when they want to talk about their hearing loss.


The first level of disclosure is called “non-disclosure,” and might be self-explanatory. People in part of this category are reluctant to disclose their hearing loss and often use phrases that people with normal hearing use—such as “Can you speak up? I can’t hear you”—which does not necessary signal to people that hearing loss is at play. A second method of talking about hearing loss is described as “basic disclosure,” where people disclose that they are experiencing hearing loss but also share background information about their hearing loss such as describing how their hearing loss occurred and what it feels like.

Multipurpose disclosure

The next level of disclosure is described as “multipurpose disclosure.” Under this method of disclosure, people talk about the fact that they have hearing loss, and they also often suggest ways that the person or people who they are talking to can accommodate their hearing loss. With a multipurpose disclosure, a person experiencing hearing loss might, for example, announce to someone that they hear out of one ear better than the other. They then would follow up this disclosure by asking the person they are communicating with to speak from side of their body in order to facilitate better hearing. Stankovic suggests that choosing a multipurpose disclosure strategy “may help [you] gain the confidence they need to disclose their hearing loss and improve communication with others.”

Staying Connected with Hearing Loss

There are many reasons to disclosure your hearing loss, and there are just as many reasons to pick the disclosure method that matters to you or works for you in a particular environment. Sometimes nondisclosure is perfectly suitable for where you are; you may be in a place for a short amount of time or may not be all that interested in communicating deeply with someone. At other times you may want to have a different kind of engagement with someone, and so want to give your listener more guidance—a multipurpose disclosure may feel like the perfect choice. No matter what, the more you know about the different kinds of disclosure methods that are available to you, the more equipped you will be to enter into diverse communication situations.

Evergreen Audiology

Have you experienced changes in your hearing? Have you noticed that you’re not communicating as well as you once did, or do you feel disconnected from your loved ones? It may be hearing loss. Contact us at Evergreen Audiology for your comprehensive hearing health services.