Coping Skills for Hearing Loss

I’ve lately tended to withdrawal from others, due to my frustration and anxiety with hearing people during verbal communication. I’m hoping others can share any coping skills they’ve used to navigate their hearing loss.

I’m 43 with adult onset hearing loss, currently wear hearing aids, with severe to profound loss in the higher frequencies. My audiogram is in my profile.

I tend to have the most difficulty hearing at work. My office area is open concept with residual background noise. I work alongside a lot of people with foreign accents and soft voices which tends to make verbal communication more difficult.

I use bluetooth during phone calls which seems to work well, and have a Roger Pen for in person communication which I’m less than impressed with.

Due to my difficulty in hearing others, I’ve tended to avoid responsibilities that include colleague collaboration, client management and sales pitches, which is delaying advancement in my current role.

When someone asks me a question and I can’t respond back in an appropriate manner, I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m perceived as anti-social and less intelligent.

  1. What do you do if you ask someone to repeat themselves 3 times and still can’t hear them?

  2. How do you deal with foreign accents and soft spoken people?

  3. If you miss information shared during a meeting, what do you do?

  4. How do you network with people, when a lot of events have background noise?

  5. Have you changed your career trajectory so it’s not as dependent on verbal communication?

This is greatly effecting my quality of life. Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks

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It sounds like you are not getting the best out of aids that might be possible. Same issue with the Roger pen.

Are you sharing this information with your hearing aid fitter? Are you taking notes about these issues and the environment you are in at the time? These notes will help you organize your issues and thoughts for your fitter.

Do you you have newer aids?

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Soft-spoken people, accents and background noise will always be a challenge. I remember watching British shows as a young adult well before knowing about hearing loss and having to turn up the volume.
Your fitter should do a standard 3-level REM adjustment to possibly bring up the soft sounds. Sierra could likely explain it better.
When in those challenging environments can you turn up the HA volume. Maybe you have a pocket remote if you’re self-conscious about reaching for the aids to adjust them.

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Thanks for sharing Raudrive. My hearing aids are 2.5 years old, although I had the same issues when they were new. I have the Kirkland 7s. I should be upgrading to the 9’s in April. I’ll see what other options are available that may help speech recognition in noise.

I’ve shared these issues with my audiologist, although I’m not sure how high my expectations should be with severe/profound hearing loss and background noise.

Even people with normal hearing can have difficulties with accents and soft speakers so I’m not sure what to expect there as well.

Your expectations should be no different than anyone else. What you get out of your aids is up to you.

I’ll schedule another appointment with my audiologist to see if there’s any further adjustments they can make.

Turning up the volume doesn’t appear to help my speech recognition much. Their voice sounds garbled but just louder.

Here is my responds to you. Keep notes of just what you have here in this forum and show them to your Audi. Note what is working and what is not working. Also note what you expect with in reason and talk that over with your Audi. As for as my work I will say this with hearing aids my work took off. I doubled my salary and I got the jobs I wanted. I retired as a IT professional with well over 2 dozen certifications that I earned after I started wearing my hearing aids. I always asked for and sometimes demanded seats in the best place for me to hear in lecture halls. At work I was a troubleshooter and did most of my work over phones and computer terminals, with video calls. I also demanded from my employer the phone equipment that I needed to do my job. I did my own research of the equipment and had my boss order it for me. I was always reasonable on the cost and researched the best possible value for the dollar. Being a US Navy Veteran and the fact that my hearing loss is service related my hearing aids come from the Veterans Administration and I have always asked for what I needed to hear the best I can. And I have saved my employers money by asking the VA system to supply the devices that I needed to be able to work. You have to hold your head high be proud of who you are and be willing to stand up for your own good.

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Thank you very much for sharing. Being proactive with some of your strategies certainly helps. I employ some of those but I’m sure I can do better.

What do you do when you just can’t hear someone? You ask them to repeat themselves a number of times and still can’t hear them.

What do you do if you miss crucial information during a conversation/meeting?

I if I can not hear them I ask them to repeat if I am face to face. If I am on the phone I ask them to email or text me the information I can not understand. Normally numbers or technical abbreviations. Be polite and up front and honest about your hearing loss and your limitations. I find that if the people are worth helping they will understand.

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Emails, emails, emails, even to persons in your room. They will respond to you via email …

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I’m interested in the replies to the initial question(s).

I have the KS9s, I find I am still having difficulty with conversations. I am not in a work situation, though. At my dog’s Agility class, I have made a point to tell folks up front, "I wear hearing aids, but in this large room I get echoes. Could you please speak a bit slower and louder? Now repeat what you just said, for me? "

We aren’t having regular conversations, more like instructions are given and then we run; more instructions, more running. The trainer has been great, she will take the time to walk right up to me to make her assessments and suggestions.

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The best phone at work is an old analogue telephone without electronic sound. Panasonic had nice and clear sound in older models. If there are only modern telephones at work then some device between the phone and hearing aids will help.

My wife is a face to face person she hates texts and emails. I have a hard time even today getting her to understand that I can read and understand much better than I can hear. But she is one of these even at 73 that can hear a pin drop in the other room. I am lucky even with my hearing aids to hear the wind chimes that are in the tree about 10 feet from my rocking chair on the front porch.

If the meeting was short you can paraphrase the most important point to your collegue which were with you on that meeting. His answer will be the clue if you got the point.
Use program speech in noise at work which should enhance the speech. An experienced fitter ASAP.

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Yes, I’m looking more to how people navigate not hearing in certain situations rather than how they can hear better in typical situations.

Good points. I think I need to give more direction to people, rather than just ask them to repeat what they just said.

Saying something like: I have hearing loss and am having difficulty hearing you. Can you speak a little louder please? Can you enunciate your words more please?

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Paradoxically at work your wife would respond to you via email. Formal relations at work. At home she could even scream …

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Can you speak a little slower please?

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Good idea on paraphrasing. I should also maximize my speech in noise opportunities.

Communicating via email more with people in the office is also a good idea. There’s some people I’m at a total loss in being able to understand. For more complex subjects I should ask for an email summarizing their request.

I find I hear much better via Bluetooth for phone calls. Direct to my hearing aids for TV also works much better rather than relying on the TV speakers. I rely on CC while watching TV even with hearing aids. Direct to my hearing aids allows me to rely less on the CC.

I’m interested to hear how people network.

I avoid a lot of company networking events since they tend to have a lot of background noise. Straining to hear for hours on end I find exhausting with little benefit.

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Everyone is trying to help you hear better for a reason.
You are asking for a bandaids.
The key to your future is hearing better, using whatever tools you can.
Properly tuning the Roger program can be a huge help too.