According to the July-October 2010 edition of the Niagara County Office for the Aging News, hearing loss can affect your life in many ways. You may miss out on talks with friends and family and telephone calls as you may find it hard to hear what the caller is saying. At the doctor's office, you may not catch the doctor's words.
Sometimes hearing problems can make you feel embarrassed, upset, and lonely. It's easy to withdraw when you can't follow a conversation. It's also easy for friends and family to think you are confused, uncaring, or difficult, when the problem may be that you just can't hear well.
See your doctor if you:
• Have trouble hearing over the telephone
• Find it hard to follow conversations when two or more people are talking
• Need to turn up the TV volume so loud that others complain
• Have a problem hearing because of background noise
• Sense that others seem to mumble, or
• Can't understand when women and children speak to you.
What causes hearing loss?
Hearing loss can have many different causes, including the aging process, ear wax buildup, exposure to very loud noises over a long period of time, viral or bacterial infections, heart conditions or stroke, head injuries, tumors, certain medicines, and heredity.
What should I do?
If you have trouble hearing, see your doctor. Sometimes the diagnosis and treatment can take place in the doctor's office. Or your doctor will refer you to an otolaryngologist, a doctor who specializes in the ear, nose and throat. Or to an audiologist, who is a health care professional trained to measure hearing and help you decide on the best hearing aid for you.
The Senior Connection is a column provided by the Clinton County Office for the Aging. For more information about services for senior citizens, contact their office at 135 Margaret St., Suite 105, Plattsburgh or call them at 565-4620. Information is also periodically provided by the Behavioral Health Services North Caregiver Resource Center. They may be reached at 565-4543 or 565-4625.