Hearing Loss: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

Hearing loss is a sudden or slow decrease in how well you hear. It can range from mild to severe. Permanent hearing loss can occur with aging. It also can happen when you are exposed long-term to loud noise. Examples include listening to loud music, riding motorcycles, or being around other loud machines.

Hearing loss can affect your work and home life. It can make you feel lonely or depressed. You may feel that you have lost your independence. But 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 call line 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?

  • Avoid loud noises whenever possible. This helps keep your hearing from getting worse.
  • Always wear hearing protection around loud noises.
  • Wear hearing aids as directed. See a person who can help you pick hearing aids that fit you.
  • Have hearing tests as your doctor suggests. They can show whether your hearing has changed. Your hearing aids may need to be adjusted.
  • Use other devices 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 pagers, fax machines, and email if it is hard for you to communicate by telephone.
  • Try to learn a listening technique called speech-reading. It is not lip-reading. 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 him or her 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?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You have hearing loss that occurs with an injury to the head or ear.
  • You have symptoms of a stroke. These may include:
    • Sudden numbness, tingling, weakness, or loss of movement in your face, arm, or leg, especially on only one side of your body.
    • Sudden vision changes.
    • Sudden trouble speaking.
    • Sudden confusion or trouble understanding simple statements.
    • Sudden problems with walking or balance.
    • A sudden, severe headache that is different from past headaches.

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have sudden, severe hearing loss.
  • You have nausea or vomiting.

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

  • You think your hearing is gradually getting worse.
  • You wonder if you need hearing aids.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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