The 6 signs you need help with your hearing – and what to do Posted on May 17, 2018May 17, 2018 by Marylin Kilsby It may be that those nearest and dearest to you have started to mumble. Or, more realistically if you are saying ‘pardon’ more often, that your hearing has taken a down-turn with age. Indeed, it’s not only your body can start to show signs of wear and tear, It can also happen to your hearing. In fact, that’s true for most people by the time they reach 70 – even if their hearing has been pin-sharp in the past. What can especially go missing is the ability to hear high-pitched sounds such as whistles, most bird song and some speech sounds. How can you know if this is true of you? There are 6 simple signs that point the way. You need the television or car radio volume on a louder level than other people than those you are with You miss that the sound of your car indicator is still on – though may be able to hear loud and clear the honking of those letting you know. You are saying ‘what?’ or ‘pardon’ more often – or trying to guess what people say Have you missed callers at the front door and it’s not just a delivery driver who’s dumped a package and scooted off You notice that other people are starting to mumble – or, at least, that’s how it seems It’s hard to hear conversation when there’s a lot of background noise or when you are with a group of people? If any of these apply to you, it’s very likely you’ve reached the point of needing some help with your hearing. And the good news is that there’s lots of help at hand. Devices to help you hear better, or to alert you to sounds you might otherwise miss include: Hearing aids, TV listeners, phone amplifiers, Alerting devices for the doorbell, alarm clock, smoke alarm, phone Hearing aids don’t give you perfect hearing but you will almost certainly benefit from them. And they are provided free on the NHS and can also be bought privately. My advice is to try the NHS hearing aids first, as privately bought ones are expensive and NHS aids are suitable for most types of hearing loss. It’s much easier to get used to a hearing aid when you first discover that you have a hearing loss, so don’t wait until you’re struggling. Other devices such as TV listeners and alerting equipment may be supplied by your local Social Services. In addition, all these devices can be purchased from suppliers of equipment for people with hearing needs. If things are serious, consider a lip reading class. Here you will meet others who also have a hearing loss, as well as learning strategies to help you in social situations. Special opportunities for service If your hearing loss is significant, you are ideally placed to serve others in the same situation. Because deafness is invisible it is a largely misunderstood disability. Many deaf people feel isolated and upset that nobody seems to understand why they are retreating from social situations. You can offer: Advice on how to get the most from their hearing aid and other devices Encouragement to return to social situations and relieve isolation Prayer and understanding of the challenges of hearing loss Where to find fellowship A great resource for Christians with hearing loss is Open Ears – an organisation specifically for those who have hearing loss. Open Ears runs a weekend or short holiday event every year which has full communication support. They also produce Hearing Eye, a quarterly magazine written by and for people with hearing loss. And membership is free. Marylin Kilsby Marylin Kilsby is severely to profoundly deaf and Chair of Open Ears. She’s a keen musician, playing clarinet and recorder in local groups. And is part of her church’s deaf group.