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What Can Physicians Do to Identify and Help with Untreated Hearing Loss?

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1. Understand the psychology behind hearing loss

It's not always easy for people to accept the possibility that they might have hearing difficulties. Losing one's ability to hear can be similar to losing anything important in life, and people with hearing loss often travel through the five stages of grief.

Not everyone goes through all five stages, and the stages don't always come in the same order, but a patient might experience something like this:

a. Denial

The patient doesn't believe that hearing loss could be happening to them. Perhaps they think they're too young. They might insist that their ears are fine, and people just mumble. They might be embarrassed about the idea of wearing hearing aids.

b. Anger

In this stage, the patient might be even more defensive about their hearing. They might snap or lash out when someone suggests they get a hearing test.

c. Bargaining

The patient might try to postpone treatment for their hearing loss as long as possible. They might say that their hearing isn't that bad yet and that they don't need to do anything to address it.

d. Depression

In this stage, the patient may feel like all hope is lost. They might sadly wish for past days when their hearing was at its best. This is likely to be when the patient begins to withdraw from social situations, feeling that it's better to just not engage than to ask others to repeat themselves.

e. Acceptance

It takes most people an average of 7-10 years to be ready to take action by getting their hearing evaluated and looking at hearing device options. Once they do, the world opens back up for them. Their relationships get better, they go back to their social selves, and they reengage in the activities they love most.

By working together, physicians and hearing health professionals can shorten this cycle and help people hear their best as soon as possible.

2. What are the best ways to communicate with someone with hearing difficulties?

 

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