Resources for Adults with Hearing Loss
The treatment for a hearing problem always begins with identifying and diagnosing the problem. There are many important questions that should be answered before treatment begins, such as:
- Is there really a hearing problem? Why do you think you have difficulty hearing?
- When did the problem begin? How has it been affecting you socially and emotionally?
- On average, people take about 7 years from the time they first start noticing hearing problems before they schedule a hearing test.
- What caused the hearing problem (i.e., what is the etiology)?
- Are you having other symptoms, like ringing in the ears (tinnitus)?
- Is the problem in one ear or both?
- Some medical issues, like acoustic neuromas, can cause single-sided hearing loss.
- Many times, hearing loss is idiopathic, meaning we don't know what caused it. But your doctor should still perform an assessment before you get hearing aids.
- Is the hearing loss going to get worse (i.e., what is the prognosis)?
- This usually depends on what caused the hearing problem.
- Your hearing loss may worsen over time if you are...
- Taking ototoxic medications
- What are your goals for treatment? What would be a measurable improvement for you?
- What we find in a sound booth may not reflect your experience in the real world. Try to think about the situations that are difficult for you, and how your life might improve if we can alleviate the problems you experience in those situations.
Hearing loss is considered a disability according to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This designation can be a good thing, because it draws attention to hearing loss and groups that advocate for individuals with hearing loss. It also enables people with hearing loss to seek accommodations in difficult listening environments.
- The ADA has accessibility guidelines for buildings and facilities.
- Many people find closed captioning helpful as a supplement to auditory information.
- Disability Rights Washington is an excellent advocacy group for individuals with disabilities to ensure they receive the services to which they are entitled.
- The Federal Communications Commission has information about closed captioning and disability rights in Washington.
- The Washington Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing provides services for deaf, hard-of-hearing, and blind-deaf individuals throughout the state of Washington.
The Hearing Loss Association of America has an abundance of information and resources for adults who are deaf and hard-of-hearing. The Washington State chapter has many resources specific to our region.
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