Living with loss of hearing

    • Brief

    • Losing your hearing can make communicating with others difficult. The ability to hear adds variety to life, helps us make sense of the world around us and allows us to communicate easily with others. When you lose this ability for a while or permanently, it can seriously affect your quality of life.

      Loss of hearing can be caused by ageing, exposure to loud noises, ear infections, ear wax build-up, ear deformities or even by certain medicines. If you experience any loss of hearing, be sure to tell your healthcare provider.

    • When you get the diagnosis

    • You will already have noticed the symptoms of loss of hearing before a diagnosis is made, but being told that this may be a permanent disability can make you feel sad and depressed. Don't let this stop you from taking action as advised by your healthcare provider. You may be able to use hearing aids or sign language to improve communication.

    • Work and health

    • Whether your loss of hearing is temporary or permanent, it can affect your quality of life. You may need to learn to read people's lips, body language or use sign language. This will help you overcome workplace and social difficulties. Living with hearing loss may also require you to use devices such as hearing aids which can improve how well you hear. You may also use apps that translate speeches to words on the screen of your phone so that you can read what is being said.

    • Diet and nutrition

    • Diet and nutrition can help with how quickly your body heals. For example, ringing in the ears may be due to vitamin B12 deficiency eating a diet rich in this vitamin (e.g. fish, eggs, cheese and beef) or taking vitamin supplements may reduce the severity of the symptoms.

      Eating a balanced diet will ensure that you get all the nutrients that your body requires to function well. This can reduce the risk for hearing impairments but does not cure the condition.

    • Physical activity

    • Physical activity can improve general health and well being, improving mood. It, however, has no effect on hearing impairment.

    • Support from family and community

    • Inform those around you. The people around you may not know how to communicate with you. Some of them may not even be aware of your difficulties hearing. You can let them know how best to get their messages across to you by sharing this with them.

      Consider therapy. Living with loss of hearing may make you sad and anxious. You may consider seeing a talk therapist to help you manage how you feel and overcome those feelings. It may also help to talk to people who have gone through something similar. They are likely to understand better and give helpful tips.

    • Financial impact

    • As a person with hearing impairments, you may require treatment depending on the cause of your condition.

      In some people, using hearing aids can improve your hearing. In others, this may not be possible. Learning to read lips and body language can help you cope. You may need to pay for these services out-of-pocket. This is in addition to paying for healthcare costs.