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Dealing with hearing loss

According to the National Institutes of Health and Aging, hearing loss can have many different causes, including the aging process, earwax buildup, exposure to very loud noises over a long period of time, viral or bacterial infections, heart conditions or stroke, head injuries, tumors, certain medications, and heredity. You should see your doctor if you:

Have trouble hearing over the telephone.

Find it hard to follow conversations when two or more people are talking.

Need to turn up the TV volume so loud that others complain.

Have a problem hearing because of background noise.

Sense that others seem to mumble.

Can't understand when women and children speak to you.

Here are some tips you can use when talking with someone who has a hearing problem:

Face the person and talk clearly.

Use facial expressions or gestures to give useful clues.

Repeat yourself if necessary, using different words.

Include the hearing impaired person when talking. Talk with the person, not about the person, when you are with others. This helps keep the hearing-impaired person from feeling alone and excluded.

Be patient; stay positive and relaxed.

What you can do if you have trouble hearing:

Let people know that you have trouble hearing.

Ask people to face you and to speak more slowly and clearly; also ask them to speak without shouting.

Pay attention to what is being said and to facial expressions or gestures.

Let the person talking know if you do not understand.

Ask people to reword a sentence and try again.

If you have trouble hearing, start by seeing your doctor. Hearing loss does not have to get in the way of your ability to enjoy life.

The Senior Connection is a column provided by the Clinton County Office for the Aging. For more information about services for senior citizens, contact their office at 135 Margaret St., Suite 105, Plattsburgh or call them at 565-4620.

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