Thursday, 5 November 2020

ENT and YOU


The issue is E.N.T. Depts (UK), are an area to determine your loss degree and type so DB-related.  Assessing how a person relates to that assessment is not really their area of expertise, it is a psychological thing as everyone can respond differently to hearing loss.

Some, when informed their hearing, may rapidly deteriorate, and/or will gradually go altogether react differently also.  Others issued with hearing aids or CI's will also respond differently. Hearing aid wearers tend to be the most complacent in that when a hearing aid does allow them to follow speech better, adopt the position and don't think any more of it except when an aid or a battery fails them or their hearing makes an aid a decoration more than a viable assist.  

E.G. There are 3 million with hearing loss in the UK who need to wear one and won't for reasons more about peer acceptance, image, or fashion than anything.  Various legislations and acts or laws on inclusions etc, haven't really empowered anyone but the legal profession and the activist.

Reaction to hearing loss can vary considerably and by sex too.  Females tend to adapt far better than males do simply because the female is a far better communicator mostly and has acquired subtle communication skills men don't seem to acquire socially.  Females are also more liable to get an issue seen to far earlier whilst the male will plod on until it gets really hard to manage, it's good to talk but males prefer to keep silent as if admitting things are difficult is some weakness or other.

ADVICE on how to manage hearing loss tends to be clinical only,  or stat messages from 'support' areas that don't really live in the real world, and those with loss are more concerned about family and social aspects of it.  E.N.T. is not equipped to offer that advice, indeed with so much political correctness/deaf rights etc sticks to own script and stays neutral.  Most with hearing loss DON'T really know what works best for them, and a lot assume approaches that they think suits them but actually isn't all that effective.

It would be far easier perhaps to do a more in-depth assessment of what really works for those with hearing loss and not what they would 'prefer' to use.  Ability and environment tend to dictate that far more than a better hearing aid or a smattering of sign language will.  Planning ahead is necessary too, and this never gets done really until the loss becomes too much.  Today you will get 60% tomorrow maybe less than 30%  later on nothing, then what?

Very obviously social aspects of hearing loss are a minefield anyway, with Hearing aid/useful hearing areas solely interested in maintaining what they had prior to that loss.  Whilst those early deaf or severe deaf doing their own thing.  Despite many years of suggested inclusions and acceptances, nothing has really changed for either area.

Social Services etc are one area that gets involved but they are hamstrung with rules and social aspects take lesser interest with them than something they may consider more urgent.  There is an acceptance if you are older then deaf is par for the course etc so isn't a priority. You can be advised to attend a class on sign or Lip-reading, or given the address of the nearest deaf club, experiences have shown neither actually work, they aren't designed to assist people struggling with loss and they near all demand useful hearing anyway. If you had that would you even attend such classes? (Discuss!).  Deafness and loss approaches are very different and not one (Or even dual approach), fits all, age and such is an issue too, as are when the loss occurs.

Over the years ATR has read and seen 1,000s of areas offering advice on how to cope and how to socialise how to communicate (And where), yet we are still at day one of diagnosis really with little or no real options or choices presenting themselves that would assist easy socialising with any area even with superior technologies because we cannot change perceptions of those who don't have your issue.  To expect an E.N.T. dept to advise on all those things is unrealistic and, that isn't their remit either.

There are a few areas in the NHS that offer psychiatric support to those struggling but they aren't dealing with loss as such but the stress and management of it, mental health.   That all rely as far as the patient WITH loss, on how much they can hear or will be able to, so it's all a vicious circle.  There are very very few who lose hearing who can shrug it all off and carry as best they can anyway.  It all goes back to diagnose and assessment and with a real plan to deal with the life aspects of it day one, and not when it gets too bad and other issues have presented themselves after years of struggle, we don't have that.

We need to understand hearing loss can be progressive and offer up real issues in our lives and not just sit there hoping for the best because it will be too late then.