Picture yourself out for dinner at a trendy new restaurant with a group of old friends. You’ve been waiting for months to try the food and you’re looking forward to catching up on everyone’s busy lives. But instead of enjoying yourself, you’re getting frustrated.
All night, you’ve been straining to follow the conversation over the dull roar of the crowd and occasional crash coming from the kitchen. In the end, all you want to do is go home where it’s quiet enough to actually listen to your loved ones.
For millions of people living with hearing loss, this scenario is all too common. In fact, difficulty following conversations is often one of the first signs of hearing loss that people notice.
Try these tips to make uncomfortable situations such as this easier:
Try to sit in a well-lit portion of the room so that you can look directly at your companions. By doing this, you can take advantage of added cues from the motion of their lips as well as their facial expressions.
If you know you’re going to be in a loud environment, let your friends know in advance that you’ve been having trouble hearing lately. Tell them that it will help if they look right at you when speaking and perhaps touch your shoulder if they want to get your attention.
Do some simple experimentation at home to find out if you hear better out of one ear or the other. Try listening to the radio or television, first blocking one ear and then the other. If you determine that you do hear better on one side, use that to your advantage in noisy situations. Position that side of your body toward your friends and ask them to direct their conversation accordingly.
Give your brain some “physical therapy” with auditory training techniques. There are several programs and apps on the market that can help you to sharpen your listening skills by means of games and exercises. As a bonus, these tools are often designed to help improve cognitive skills as well.
The effects of many types of hearing loss can often be minimized by hearing aids, whether in one or both ears. The precision of hearing aids has improved drastically in recent years even as they have decreased in size and become less noticeable. Although hearing aids cannot reverse hearing loss, they can markedly help reduce the inconvenience it causes.