Hearing loss can deeply affect all your relationships. Often, the closer the relationship, the more profoundly it is affected.
Your military training has taught you to never start a mission without a plan. So why not apply that same principle to your hearing loss? Take on your hearing loss and other related health issues proactively. Here are some easy to follow steps toward creating your very own Hearing Loss Action Plan that will move you toward finding the solutions you need and getting treatment for your hearing loss.
- Start the conversation.
This first step is probably the toughest and definitely the most important. Getting past the tendencies of denial and resistance starts with communication – especially among those closest to you.
- Tell your family and friends that you may have hearing damage or hearing loss
- Be specific – talk about situations in which hearing is most affected.
- Look for ways to make communicating easier – whether it’s always looking right at those who are speaking to you, choosing quiet spots for conversations or other tips we share in upcoming blog posts.
- Seek treatment.
Also a challenging move for many to take, especially veterans, but obviously just as important as any other. It’s not an exaggeration to say taking that first step toward seeking a resolution to your hearing loss can be a life-altering step.
- Schedule an appointment with your doctor or hearing healthcare provider.
- If you can, find a person you trust who is willing to be your health advocate.
- Go to all of your medical appointments. Reschedule when necessary – but don’t avoid or delay.
- Be sure to tell your healthcare provider about ALL changes in your health, mood, behavior, and home life.
- Be prepared.
You’ve committed to seeking treatment and have scheduled your appointments, but the work isn’t done yet. It’s important to be prepared before seeing your healthcare provider. Most veterans have more than one “comorbidity” (additional health issue) that can affect their hearing loss or the way they should be treated. Your healthcare provider needs to know this vital information.
- Make an exhaustive list of any physical symptoms as well as changes in your experience or behavior (hearing loss, buzzing or ringing in the ears, pain, sleep habits, substance abuse, extreme emotions, changes in social behavior, etc.).
- Tell your doctor about your military service and any other health issues you face – whether they are a result of your time in uniform or not. Don’t be afraid to also share how these health issues have affected your life or relationships.
- Follow your doctor’s suggestions! Talk with your doctor about making a plan to tackle your issues in a time-frame that works for you. Ask your health advocate to encourage you to follow-through with your plan.
- Connect with your community.
For many, hearing loss can lead to feelings of isolation. This can be particularly troubling for veterans whose time in uniform taught them of the importance of community and relying on the man or woman beside you. Connecting, or reconnecting with your veteran community can be a significant step toward improving your overall wellness. Reach out.
What step are you on in this battle plan? Tell us how it’s going!