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Hearing Loss: Care Instructions


Hearing loss is a sudden or, more often, a slow decrease in how well you hear. It can range from mild to profound. It can affect one or both ears. Hearing loss can be temporary and treatable or permanent. Hearing loss is invisible and affects people of all ages. Permanent hearing loss can happen for a variety of reasons including chronic health conditions (like diabetes or high blood pressure), aging, family history, or when you are exposed long-term loud noise, like loud music, riding motorcycles, or being around other loud machines.

Hearing loss can affect your work, home life, and relationships. It can make you feel lonely or depressed. You may feel that you have lost your independence. But hearing technology, like hearing aids and other devices, can help you hear better and feel connected to others.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Have important conversations in spaces where it is easier to hear, like a closed room with no background noise.
  • Manage your health conditions and check your hearing more often if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, dementia, depression, or sleep apnea, or if you have accidental falls.
  • Avoid loud noises whenever possible. This helps keep your hearing from getting worse.
  • Always wear hearing protection around loud noises.
  • See an audiologist (hearing specialist) who can help you pick hearing technology that works for you. Use your hearing technology (like wearing a hearing aid) as advised.
  • Check in with your audiologist at least once a year, or whenever you notice a change in your hearing, to make sure your hearing technology is working optimally for you.
  • Have hearing tests as your audiologist suggests. They can show whether your hearing has changed. Your hearing aid may need to be adjusted.
  • Use other hearing technology as needed. These may include:
    • Telephone amplifiers and hearing aids that can connect to a television, stereo, radio, or microphone.
    • Devices that use lights or vibrations. These alert you to the doorbell, a ringing telephone, or a baby monitor.
    • Television closed-captioning. This shows the words at the bottom of the screen. Most new TVs can do this.
    • TTY (text telephone). This lets you type messages back and forth on the telephone instead of talking or listening. These devices are also called TDD. When messages are typed on the keyboard, they are sent over the phone line to a receiving TTY. The message is shown on a monitor.
  • Use text messaging, social media, and email if it is hard for you to communicate by telephone.
  • Try to learn a listening technique called speechreading. It is not lipreading. You pay attention to people's gestures, expressions, posture, and tone of voice. These clues can help you understand what a person is saying. Face the person you are talking to, and have them face you. Make sure the lighting is good. You need to see the other person's face clearly.
  • Think about counselling if you need help to adjust to your hearing loss.

When should you call for help?

Contact your doctor right away if you have a sudden loss of hearing in one ear.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:

  • You think your hearing is getting worse.
  • You have new symptoms, such as dizziness or nausea.

Where can you learn more?

Go to

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