Living With Hearing Loss
You can work with your family and friends to re-establish two-way communication. For starters, set up your home so your rooms are well lit and the chairs face each other. Seeing the faces of people when they talk allows you to see their mouths move as well as their facial expressions. Remove avoidable sources of background noise; for instance, turn off the TV when no one's watching it. Then let people know a few things they can do to help you understand them better:
- Make sure they have your attention before they start talking.
- Make sure you can see their lips moving when they talk.
- Speak clearly but don't shout.
Take Good Care of Your Ears
With so many untreatable cases of hearing loss, prevention is your best ticket to healthy long-term hearing. Wear earplugs when you're exposed to sounds as loud or louder than traffic. Lawn mowers, power sanders, vacuums, and most concerts are all loud enough to harm unprotected ears. When possible, move away from the source of the noise. For example, cross the street or cover your ears when you walk past a loud road construction site.
If you work in a noisy workplace, talk to your employer about ear safety. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends that employers in noisy plants install barrier walls or mufflers to protect their workers' hearing. Hearing loss is often permanent, so do what you can to protect one of your most valuable natural assets.