12 – Hearing Loss Journey

Those who have hearing loss vary in terms of how long they have been aware of their hearing loss and what steps they have taken to deal with it. Some people are only in the beginning stages of recognizing that there may be a hearing problem, while at another extreme are those who have been wearing hearing aids for many years—successfully or unsuccessfully.

What people are ready to accept in terms of information, advice, and hearing aids or other helpful equipment depends largely on where they are along their hearing loss journey.  Those people who have only recently become aware of the presence of their hearing loss may or may not be ready to take steps to deal with the condition. They may, at that time, be more in need of information and support until they are ready to take action to deal with the hearing loss.

Other people who have known they have a hearing problem for a few or, in some cases, many years may have what they believe are valid reasons for failing to take action, e.g. they don’t have their hearing tested, don’t inform  others about their hearing difficulties, or inform them about what to do differently to be understood, and don’t acquire or wear hearing aids.

Some people have acquired a great deal of information about hearing loss and others know virtually nothing about it. Usually, a person needs some basic information, advice and attitude adjustment before they are ready to get an assessment or invest in equipment. This applies to both the person who has the hearing loss and to communication partners at home and at work.

The circle is useful tool adopted by the Ida Institute to help locate just where consumers are located along their hearing loss journey.

At each step along the journey — pre-contemplation, contemplation, etc. — there are suggestions for what might be most helpful to the consumer, such as education/information, advice, etc. People who are newly diagnosed are usually at the early stages and need information and support. Some people who have been using hearing aids for years but have not achieved satisfaction with the results of wearing them may need to go back through the various stages, acquiring more information, support, and probably, an attitude adjustment.