Living With Hearing Loss

If you find yourself cupping your ear with the palm of your hand to hear someone speaking more clearly, you’re not alone. In fact, hearing loss is the fastest growing and third most prevalent chronic condition facing Canadians.

Today, 10% of Canadians, that’s more than three million people, are living with hearing loss. That’s a big number, and more than twice the number of Canadians who suffer from eyesight problems. The truth of the matter is, that number could be a lot higher, since those suffering from hearing loss often under-report their condition.

Of those more than three million Canadians suffering from hearing loss, only one in six wears a hearing aid. Or put another way, more than 83% of Canadians living with hearing loss have difficulty following a normal conversation because they do not use hearing aids.

One of the most common types of hearing loss is age related: 25% are over the age of 45 and 50% are over the age of 65. The second most common form of hearing loss is noise related. Twenty percent of teenagers 12 to 19 years of age are dealing with some form of hearing loss. And that number is growing fast; it represents a 30% increase over the first 10 years of the new millennium.

For most, hearing loss is a gradual process that occurs over many years, deteriorating so gradually that many people do not even notice their hearing is getting worse. They’re often the last to know, it’s their friends, family, and coworkers who notice it first.

Symptoms of Hearing Loss

  • Muffled speech and other sounds
  • Difficulty following conversations in noisy places or in a crowd
  • Trouble hearing consonants
  • Asking others to speak more loudly, slowly, and clearly
  • Watching people’s lips and avoiding eye contact
  • Contributing less and less to conversations
  • Frequently needing to turn up the volume on the TV or radio
  • Mentally exhausted after social events
  • Avoiding social settings

It’s important to pay attention to developing signs or symptoms of hearing loss. Multiple studies have confirmed that hearing loss can lead to withdrawal, anxiety, frustration, and even depression.

If any of these symptoms sound familiar to you, talk to your doctor or audiologist. While you can’t reverse most types of hearing loss, you and your hearing specialist can take steps to improve what you hear and your way of life.

Peer-To-Hear Support

Like any issue you are facing, it’s imperative that you find support. Your hearing specialist will be a good place to start. But because you won’t see them all that often, it’s important to reach out to others, especially a support network that includes other people suffering from hearing loss.

If you’re suffering from hearing loss and wish there was someone you could talk to, a good support system, like a peer-to-hear support network, is essential. Learning to deal with hearing loss is a challenging journey. A peer group that offers mentoring, counselling and friendly support can go a long way.

Deaf & Hear Alberta offers peer-to-hear counselling and mentoring programs for those dealing with the early stages of hearing loss. We match those dealing with hearing loss with someone who has already gone through the same process.

Our peer-to-hear support group also provides speech reading and active communication strategies. This can include everything from speech reading (lip reading) to sign language, to resources and other learning strategies that will help you manage your hearing loss.

If you’re dealing with hearing loss and struggling to communicate, Deaf & Hear Alberta is here to help.

JOIN PEER-TO-HEAR

Participate as a mentee or a mentor.