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Coping with Hearing Loss

Coping with Hearing Loss

Coping with hearing loss is a lot more than just getting hearing aids. Unfortunately the folks who sell us hearing aids too often forget that, and people can have hearing loss for 20 years or more and never learn about the other components to a good program to deal with hearing loss. Here are some thoughts on the often-neglected components.

April 2013 – Demos of what speech sounds like with various hearing losses

April 2013 – At A Loss

March 2013 – Looking for the Right Solution to Hearing Problems

February 2013 – Dual Adaptation in Deaf Brains

February 2013 – Training Your Brain to Hear in Noisy Situations

February 2013 – My hearing problem has made me a better listener

January 2013 – Thoughts on Hearing Loss

December 2012 – This Holiday Season, Kids Will Be Getting American Girl Dolls With Hearing Aids and Allergy-Free Lunches

September 2011 – Hearing Aids Improve Quality of Life and Social Involvement

August 2011 – Matt Lauer Highlights Adult Hearing Loss

August 2011 – New Book Helps Recently Deafened Adults

August 2011 – Hearing Loop Conference: Providing Effective Communication Access

August 2011 – Living Well: Everyday Conversation and Hearing Impairment

August 2011 – Self-efficacy and Successful Hearing Rehabilitation

April 2011 – Handbell Choir Adventures of Musician with Hearing Loss

December 2010 – Hearing Loss a Major Concern Among AARP Members

December 2010 – Holiday Season Can Be Especially Difficult for People with Hearing Loss

January 2010 – Not hearing grandchildren main reason for hearing test

October 2008 – Does Hearing Loss Affect or Change Your Personality?

October 2007 – And here’s Denise Portis’ “Between a Rock and a Hard Place”

August 2007 – Here’s Steve Barber with his thoughts on the topic.


Demos of what speech sounds like with various hearing losses

April 2013

It’s easy enough to restore 20/20 eyesight with glasses or contacts. But even state-of-the-art digital hearing aids can’t perfectly restore hearing for people whose inner ears have been damaged by noise exposure, medications or just the wear and tear of aging. Part of the problem is that this kind of sensorineural hearing loss- the result of permanent damage to the sensory cells of the inner ear – does more than just make sounds quieter. It can jumble the sounds, too, in ways that garble speech. To give people with normal hearing an inkling of how wild these distortions can be, hearing and speech researcher Arthur Boothroyd created several audio clips for Shots. Each demo uses the same spoken sentence, but is distorted in a different way. (You can hear the original, undistorted sentence further down in this post. But before you do, take a listen to the demos and try to figure out what’s being said.)  Full Story


Looking for the Right Solution to Hearing Problems

March 2013

This is the second set of answers to reader questions from Neil J. DiSarno, chief staff officer for audiology at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, and a former chairman of the department of communication sciences and disorders at Missouri State University. Dr. DiSarno’s first set of answers can be found here. Because more than 200 people wrote in, not all questions can be answered individually; Dr. DiSarno selected representative questions on similar topics. This feature is closed to new questions.  Full Story


Dual Adaptation in Deaf Brains

February 2013

The brains of deaf people reorganize not only to compensate for the loss of hearing, but also to process language from visual stimuli-sign language, according to a study published today (February 12) in Nature Communications. Despite this reorganization for interpreting visual language, however, language processing is still completed in the same brain region. “The new paper really dissected the difference between hand movements being a visual stimulus, and cognitive components of language,” said Alex Meredith, a neurobiologist at Virginia Commonwealth University, who was not involved in the study. The brain devotes different areas to interpreting various sensory stimuli, such as visual or auditory. When one sense is lost, the brain compensates by adapting to other stimuli, explained study authorVelia Cardin of University College London and Linköping University in Sweden. In deaf people, for example, “the part of the brain that before was doing audition adapts to be doing something else, which is vision and somatosensation,” she said.  However, deaf humans “don’t just have sensory deprivation,” she added-they also have to learn to process a visual, rather than oral, language.  Full Story


This Holiday Season, Kids Will Be Getting American Girl Dolls With Hearing Aids and Allergy-Free Lunches

December 2012

When American Girl Dolls hit the market in 1986, the focus was on American History and how little girls lived during various eras of our nation’s development. But over the years, the company has expanded the types of dolls it manufactures. In the 1990s, a customizable American Girl was created, and it was a hit: Little girls want dolls they can relate to, that look like them. And the customization is getting more specific: Allergy-free lunches and hearing aids, for instance. When my sister and I were kids, my parents had a tough time finding us dolls with our skin tone; black dolls came in one shade: dark-skinned. We played with both white dolls and dark-skinned dolls, but I know that we expressed interest in – and got excited by – the rare doll that had a café au lait complexion. Even with the still-developing mind of a child, there was a validation that came from seeing your characteristics reflected back at you. It was like the world was whispering, We recognize that you exist. By the time American Girl Dolls came out, I was already way too old to be interested, but I think my sister and I (more my sister, really, I wasn’t that interested in dolls) would have been thrilled to create a curly-haired, brown-skinned mini-me. (My Twinn, which started in 1993, also makes custom dolls.) The new American Girl catalog has a page called “Special Sparkle,” featuring accessories for dolls: The usual fare you might find for Barbie, like boots and sunglasses, but also a wheelchair. A hearing aid. An allergy-free lunch with a medical bracelet and EpiPen.    Full Story


New Book Helps Recently Deafened Adults

August 2011

“A Survival Guide for New Deafies” by Deaf Girl Amy Sargent, is a witty, insightful quick read. It is designed to provide hearing people with an understanding of hearing loss and deafness, as well as insight and coping skills to newly deafened people or those hard of hearing people who fall somewhere in between . . . . Deaf Girl Amy has lived through the hell of losing her hearing, including all the angst and self-doubt that accompany hearing loss. She fully understands the frustration and anxiety that it causes both the person with hearing loss and his or her family members. Having survived all the adversity and finding herself on the other side, filled with peace, joy and lightness, she wants to share what she has learned to spare those new to the life of hearing loss.  Full Story


Living Well: Everyday Conversation and Hearing Impairment

August 2011

The ability to successfully converse with others is critical to one’s image as a competent human being and impacts one’s perceptions of happiness or living well in society. All conversation may be judged by the way participants are able to take responsibility toward mutually successful interaction, and living well with a hearing loss will be influenced by the way all people in the conversation play their part. Adults who have acquired hearing impairment (HI) commonly report difficulties in everyday conversation, and as such, amelioration of these difficulties is a legitimate goal of intervention for audiologists and other hearing care professionals. The success of a clinical intervention may be judged by the success hearing-impaired adults and their partners perceive in everyday conversation. This article discusses how clinicians can gain insight into both the way hearing-impaired adults communicate with their partners and how this might influence their perceptions of living well.   Full Story


Self-efficacy and Successful Hearing Rehabilitation

August 2011

There are a number of theories to explain how individuals accept their health diagnoses and decide to engage in treatment. The Health Belief Model (HBM),1 developed in the 1950s by social psychologist Godfrey Hochbaum, is one of the most commonly used theories in health promotion and health education. Used by scientists to try to predict health behaviors, it continues to be relevant to health care in the 21st century. The HBM focuses on the role of personal beliefs in taking action regarding health and is particularly relevant to hearing loss and the rehabilitative process. The HBM theory states that “an individual’s behavior can be predicted based upon certain issues…that an individual may consider when making a decision about a particular behavior concerning their health.”2 The HBM suggests that the probability an individual will take action is based on a careful weighing of the perceived benefits of the action and the perceived barriers to accomplishing that action. In brief, the attitudes and beliefs of people are core components of managing change.   Full Story