A debut guide that may help start a conversation about an underdiagnosed issue that affects 1 in 7 Americans.
Frantz, an ear, nose, and throat physician, frames hearing loss as a disability that frays a patient’s connections to other people. He looks closely at the physiology of hearing and explains how exposure to loud noise can damage one’s perceptions of high frequencies first yet preserve those at lower frequencies. This is why, Frantz explains, elderly people can hear people talking yet not understand what they’re saying. In his holistic approach, he illuminates the psychological impact of losing one’s hearing and how denial, often stemming from pride, precedes diagnosis and treatment. He says that physicians in his particular field are best at treating this disability because they have more options than others, including surgery and medication. In a conversational, informative tone, he demystifies the process of diagnosis and treatment in three steps: he clarifies the various facets of audiograms, the comprehensive tests that ENTs use to gauge a patient’s auditory abilities; he illustrates the components of the modern hearing aid; and, most importantly, he breaks down the high cost of such equipment for consumers. The author’s friendly explanations will help enlighten patients. Despite some prosaic “fact” and “fiction” statements that appear between chapters, he also engagingly addresses common myths; for example, he points out that up to 10 percent of hearing-loss issues can be corrected without using hearing aids at all. The book also includes anecdotes from the author’s own hospital rotations and gives straightforward advice for preserving one’s hearing, guides for self-assessment, and state hearing-aid regulations. It even offers tips for clearer verbal communication that can benefit all readers. His recommendations don’t replace a private consultation with an ENT, but they may help many readers to take such disabilities seriously.
An easy read about the causes of gradual hearing loss and how to cope with it.