Who says hearing loss isn’t deadly? Those with hearing loss might be alive but many of us aren’t quite living either. It takes the average person seven years to get hearing aids or seek help. In that seven years we die a little each year.
Hearing loss kills self-esteem:
- Did I hear that right? Should I answer only to be wrong again? Look stupid again?
- Asked for a repeat one too many times and got “Never mind” or “I SAID…”
- Not being able to perform simple, everyday tasks like answer the phone or understand simple English.
- Hole up in my own world and read books where I don’t risk being a pest or being wrong, again.
Hearing loss kills social interaction:
- Large gatherings be it a dinner or a party are a buzz, low hum and sprinkled with laughter. That’s all I know. Intense concentration trying to keep up with what’s said as conversation bounces around leads to burn out. I then phase out to give my brain a break only to be told later, “You weren’t paying attention.”
- People call out to me, I didn’t hear and we continue walking. I’m labeled stuck up or unfriendly.
- Social outings often include movie theaters, restaurants and concerts. All three venues play hell on hearing aid instruments making speech all the more difficult to understand.
- Staying home to read my book or watch DVDs with captions. Thank goodness TV captioning became mandatory in the 1990’s.
Hearing loss kills careers:
- Many work places have bad acoustics creating another sort of deafness that doesn’t involve silence at all. It’s noise with no definition.
- Meetings without assistive listening devices (ALDs) are impossible to keep up with. Employers fight against accommodation. The same for phone accommodations.
- I’m afraid to ask for help, afraid it will show weakness especially in today’s world of downsizing.
- Bluffing, trying to remain as small as possible in an effort to hide or quitting.
Hearing loss kills relationships:
- “What good are you if you can’t hear someone breaking in at night?”
- A partner using hearing loss to his/her advantage. “I asked you about a golf membership and since you didn’t answer, I assumed it was okay to get one.” Did he ask me from the other side of the house???
- “You would be nothing without me. You need me to hear.” Dependency bonds.
- Faking it, being alone or submitting to a unsatisfying relationship because of low self-esteem.
That’s why hard of hearing people isolate themselves. What have I done to combat it?
Bought hearing aids and joined a hearing loss group for support and came away with knowledge and courage too.
Educated myself about sensorineural hearing loss so I could explain how I hear to others and exactly what I need to understand better.
I started advocating for myself.
“Be fearless. Have the courage to take risks. Go where there are no guarantees. Get out of your comfort zone even if it means being uncomfortable. The road less traveled is sometimes fraught with barricades bumps and uncharted terrain. But it is on that road where your character is truly tested. And have the courage to accept that you’re not perfect nothing is and no one is — and that’s OK.” Katie Couric (born 1957); American journalist
Hearing loss support groups…