Any fluid remaining in the ears beyond eight to 12 weeks is cause for medical intervention; how soon this is treated may or may not affect how much damage to the hearing itself either in a short period of time or later years.

Other causes of hearing loss include ear wax buildup, exposure to very loud noises over a long period of time (usually from occupations where one is exposed to loud noise for long periods of time or loud music, for example), viral or bacterial infections, heart conditions or stroke, head injuries, side effects from medications and heredity.

Living With Hearing Loss

There is no shame in having problems hearing. Even after treatment, one may still feel held back, but there are some things that can be done to help with adjusting:

Let people know you have an impairment. They are usually more understanding when they are aware of this.

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

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

Let the person talking know if you do not understand; have them repeat anything you cannot hear clearly.

There are also special phones with everything from amplifiers to the new phones that have texts that can write out what the caller is saying. Visual voice mail is also available from some telephone service providers for an extra small fee.

Even your own computer can be adjusted to suit hearing accessibility; just click on the Control Panel's Accessibility Options and choose Configure Windows to work with your vision, hearing or mobility needs, and then follow the applicable instructions.

TV and radio listening systems can be used with or without hearing aids. These do not require turning up the volume.

Smoke detectors, doorbells, and telephones also are available with special devices that the hearing impaired person see or a vibration they can feel, such as a flashing light when someone rings the doorbell.

Hearing dogs are also available in some cases through some non-profit organizations such as Dogs for the Deaf.

Whatever one's needs, we are not alone in this journey; however, preventing hearing loss is more effective than treating it after the damage is done. In any case, once hearing loss has happened, it doesn't mean life is over, there is help out there to assist in living a normal, productive life after hearing loss.