Good Life

Health Break: Panel will share real-life stories of hearing loss

Leslie Purcell
Leslie Purcell Photo provided

Have you ever felt left out of a conversation because you could not hear what was being said? Have you ever responded inappropriately when asked a question? Do you find yourself not wanting to be in social situations because you are frustrated that you cannot hear?

About 20 percent of American adults suffer from hearing loss, and by age 65, 1 in 3 adults has hearing loss. Hearing loss can be classified as mild, moderate, severe or profound, and can be temporary or permanent. If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you should know that this does not have to be your life. You do not have to be embarrassed or scared, and you certainly are not alone. You can overcome the challenges of hearing loss, and there are many ways to get help.

On April 15, Mount Nittany Medical Center will host a panel of people who will share their experiences with hearing loss. For some, hearing loss has been something that they have been coping with for most of their life. For others, it is something that only recently has come to light. Whatever the case may be, there are others who are experiencing similar situations.

A representative and member of the Hearing Loss Association of America — Central Pennsylvania Chapter also will relate her personal journey with hearing loss. The continued emotional support and reassurance offered by the association is a wonderful resource. You’ll learn how this support group has helped so many individuals with friendly encouragement and by sharing knowledge about valuable resources in our area that can make communication easier for you or your loved one.

Many people often are afraid to reach out for help in fear of admitting there is a problem or because they don’t want to endure another round of evaluations or tests. During the event, we will discuss what you can expect when you call your audiologist as well as treatment options. We also will discuss how to approach the subject with your doctor and family. It may seem difficult to encourage family members to have a hearing evaluation even if they do not yet detect a problem, but it is never too early to begin monitoring your hearing.

Remember, hearing loss is not something that can be seen. If you are having trouble hearing, you must speak with your doctor or call an audiologist. Hearing loss is not a “normal” part of aging that everyone has to suffer through — rather, it’s something that can easily be managed.

There are many options for dealing with hearing loss, including simple steps you can take to help you lead the active and full life you are accustomed to or long to restore.