For those losing their hearing in Richmond (or anywhere else), it can be a trying experience, both emotionally and physically.
Fortunately, there is help available. Hearing loss support groups and other resources can help individuals cope with hearing loss and manage their condition with a minimum of stress.
Are you concerned about your or a loved one's hearing health? Make an appointment to speak to an ENT doctor!
Defining "Hard of Hearing"
Anyone who has hearing loss of a varying degree, whether they have an official diagnosis or not, is defined as "hard of hearing." This can manifest in many ways, such as:
- Reporting decreased volume in one or both ears
- Asking others to repeat themselves
- Trouble hearing in crowds or busy environments (restaurants, churches, sporting events)
Anyone who notices a significant difficulty and is experiencing a level of frustration is defined as "hard of hearing" in practical terms.
Why the Hard of Hearing Need Support
Hearing loss, or the loss of any sense, can be a profoundly life-changing event. People suffering from loss of hearing may feel they're losing their connection with people. Many end up avoiding social situations and change their lifestyle to compensate -- and not always in healthy ways.
The hard of hearing need support from loved ones, spouses, and groups in the community to manage their changes and continue to thrive. For those with significant hearing loss, we at Virginia ENT will often recommend hearing aids, but they don't fully correct the condition. Patients with hearing loss will never have perfect hearing again, and must be taught how to adapt to their new acoustic environment.
Loss of hearing can be very emotional, for both the patient and those around them. Seeking support lets patients know they're not alone, and helps them to accept the condition.
Hearing Loss Help is Available
Fortunately, there is a wide array of support on hand for the hard of hearing. For many, an audiologist (such as Virginia ENT) is the number one stop, especially if the patient needs hearing aids, a hearing test, or needs to develop a best treatment course. Virginia ENT also offers group classes to discuss hearing loss, ear anatomy, and what aids and devices can or can't do to help them.
Community and Nationwide Support
Many local and national organizations can also provide support:
- Hearing Loss Association of Greater Richmond - This organization meets once a month. They discuss challenges for the hard of hearing and feature guest speakers on relevant topics. There is also an associated national organization.
- The Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing can provide additional devices for the hard of hearing (such as devices to help patients hear their alarm clock, telephone, and so on) or help patients find them.
- Center for Family Involvement - Operated through VCU, this family-to-family network helps parents find other parents of children with hearing loss for mutual support.
- Virginia Hearing Journey - a support group for children and families with members who are hard of hearing.
You can also check for Facebook groups, Meetup groups, or other social network groups in your area.
While some insurance companies do offer a hearing aid benefit, many unfortunately do not. Virginia ENT can help you determine if your insurance company will provide assistance. Hearing aids are available at different sophistication and price levels. Meeting with your audiologist is the best way to determine the best options to meet both your hearing and lifestyle needs. There are, however, resources that can provide assistance for qualifying patients, such as the Hearing Loss Association of America. Your audiologist can help to determine the best course of action.
If you have questions about how you can support a significant other or loved one who is hard of hearing, or want to schedule an appointment to discuss your hearing loss and support options, don't wait.