Click this link  to read the Updated Report on Subsidies for Hearing Aids — by CHHA-BC Board Member Jessica Niemela.




So, What is Hearing Loss?     How Do You Know If You Have Hearing Loss?

How Do You Manage Your Hearing Loss?



So What is Hearing Loss?

A person is defined as being hard of hearing when his or her hearing loss ranges from mild to profound and when his or her usual means of communication is speech.

There many reasons why a person loses his or her hearing. It can be either genetic, environmental, disease, medication, physical trauma or old age.

  • Genetic: Hearing loss can be inherited. Both the dominant and recessive genes exists to cause mild to profound hearing loss and it may or may not be passed down to his or her offspring.
  • Environmental: Long term loud noises can cause your hearing to degrade. Such noises can be working in a factory plant, attending loud concert, and personal electronic devices such as IPODs.
  • Diseases: There are many diseases out there that can affect the hearing. Such diseases may include mumps, autoimmune disorders, AIDS, meningtis, premature birth and fetal alcohol syndrome
  • Medications: Some medications such as various types of antibotics can cause irreversible damage to the ear, and are limited in their use for this reason.
  • Physical Trauma: Childhood abuse victims and those with brain injuries are very vulnerable to expect hearing loss.
  • Old Age: As we get into senior years, we tend to lose some hearing.

There are three types of hearing loss: neural/sensorineural, conductive, or a combination of both.

  • Neural/Sensorineural: This type of hearing loss is caused by damage/malfunction of the inner ear or auditory brainstem
  • Conductive: This type of hearing loss is caused by damage/malfunction of the middle or outer ear system
  • Combination: Mixed hearing loss includes sensorineural and conductive causes

Depending on the severity and the complexity of hearing loss, hearing aids or coclear implants are usually the best treatment options to provide some function in ability to communicate and interact with friends, family, co-workers or other social settings. It does not cure your hearing and it is not perfect, but managing your hearing loss well can be beneficial to you and to another person through speechreading and body language.                  top

How Do You Know if You have Hearing Loss?

You may be losing your hearing when you:

  • have to turn the volume up on the television set
  • think everyone else is mumbling
  • ask people to repeat themselves
  • find whispers impossible to hear
  • avoid social situations because of the strain of trying to hear

See your family doctor for a hearing test.

Get a hearing aid if one is recommended. Many people find it of great benefit, though a hearing aid can only amplify the sounds, not provide lost hearing.

If you have lost all your hearing enquire about cochlear implants or take a coping skills course and/or speech reading/managing hearing loss course which you can read below.                  top

How Do You Manage Your Hearing Loss?
… by taking a Managing Hearing Loss program!    A “Managing Your Hearing Loss” program is designed for the Hard of Hearing adult. You will learn to:

  • Speech read
  • Cope in noisy places
  • Reduce your stress
  • Enjoy conversing again

Purpose: This program will help you understand normal conversation better. When you communicate effectively, you will regain your self-confidence, begin to relax, enjoy conversing again and cope effectively with your hearing loss at home, at work and at play.

Speechreading (Lip Reading): Speechreading is the ability to understand the spoken word by observing a speaker’s lip, tongue and jaw movements, as well as interpreting the speaker’s facial expressions, gestures and body language. Speechreading is a skill which requires study, practice, patience and a sense of humour.

Coping Strategies: Coping Strategies teach you how to live with your hearing loss and to adapt to difficult communication situations without stress or discomfort. It is important that you learn to talk about your hearing loss without embarrassment or apology. As you progress through this program you will learn to express your personal needs without distress. Also, your hearing loss creates many daily stresses in your life. This program examines these stresses and recommends ways to help you relieve the tensions caused by your hearing impairment.

This program offers approximately 6 to 20 two-hour sessions (depending on which community you live in) and examines different problems related to your hearing loss. Here is a brief outline of what you will learn:

  • Speech movements
  • Listening and communication
  • How the ear works
  • Causes of hearing loss
  • Diseases of the ear
  • Aids to communication which includes Listening Devices
  • How to cope with: hearing loss, hearing aids, family and friends, telephone, restaurants, special devices, speakers, noise pollution, travel, shopping, workplace, tinnitus, Meniere’s Syndrome and mental health.
  • Assertiveness training and stress management
  • Health care staff and hospitals
  • Medications and hearing loss
  • Hearing loss and the elderly
  • Hearing Ear Dogs

Note: After this class, you may wish to join a monthly support group to improve your speechreading skills, participate in group discussions on current issues relevant to hard of hearing people and enjoy the companionship of your new friends.

Where is it offered?   There are locations across the province that offer speechreading programs from CHHA branch or through Post Secondary Education or Continuing Education. Here are the latest:

    • Chilliwack area: Please call CHHA-BC Resource Centre for the next Speechreading program. The phone number is (604) 795-9238.
    • North Shore area: Please contact the Activity Centre at 604-925-7280 for the next Speechreading course or check out their website for the next course.
    • Comox Valley area: Please call CHHA-BC Resource Centre office for contact information.
    • Western Institute for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing offers classes called, “Better Communication with Your Hearing Loss” that is offered through their Audiology Department. It runs for 4 weeks, 2 hours a week. They offer these classes on a monthly basis and costs $20 for WIDHH or CHHA members, $80 for non-members. More information is located at their website by clicking here.
    • Vancouver Community College in Vancouver area: Part of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Adult program, it is offered once a week for 12 weeks, classes start January, April, and September and is located at the King Edward Campus. More information, click here or contact them at 604-871-7341 (TTY only),604-871-7000 ext: 7342 (Voice/Voice mail)or 604-871-7379 (Fax). Email:
    • Vancouver Island Deaf and Hard of Hearing Centre in Victoria: Offers Aural Rehabilitation Program at their centre. For more information, please click here or contact them at 250-592-8144 or 1-800-667-5448 toll free.

If you like to learn how to manage with your hearing loss, please contact the CHHA-BC Resource Centre office at (604) 795-9238 in Chilliwack, or toll free at 1-866-888-2442, or email us by clicking Contact Us link and we will get you in touch with the closest branch or community that offers this program.                  top