Hearing Loss Kills

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.

What’s easier?

  • 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.

What’s easier?

  • 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.

What’s easier?

  • 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.

What’s easier?

  • 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…

Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA)

Association of Late-Deafened Adults (ALDA)

SayWhatClub (SWC)

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5 responses to “Hearing Loss Kills

  1. Another really good way to combat this “hearing loss kills” is to learn sign language, and be involved in the Deaf community. Large gatherings are no issue for me when I am surrounded by other signers. Since learning ASL and understanding that I am not alone, that I am not broken, that I am not “Impaired” my self esteem has not been killed, it has gone up so much. Its how we are raised, its how we are taught to look at ourselves, its how we are taught to advocate for ourselves that matters. Children who are D/HH and are not taught to advocate for themselves, or who are taught (even inadvertently) that they are broken, or need to be fixed, they are the ones with issues.
    Yes I understand that my plan doesn’t work perfectly, yes I understand that a deaf or HoH adult who was either raised orally or who is late deaf has a different world view, but hearing loss is NOT deadly… it opens the world to a different community if only people reach out.

  2. I’m glad you brought this up. I have been taking sign language on and off for over ten years and I would like to use it more but no one in my family has learned. If I have no one to practice with??? I keep going to classes anyway and my boyfriend has agree to start learning. It’s slow going but hopefully it pays off.
    Many people lose their hearing late in life. I’ve seen quite a few take sign classes like I have but they kind of give up and let it go too. Can’t teach an old dog new tricks??? Or their family isn’t involved like mine. Anyway, it’s a lonely existence in hearing loss and too many people get tired of fighting it. I keep thinking we need to create a hard of hearing culture.
    We have a big deaf/hoh center and the Deaf and the hoh walk around smiling at each other and occasionally we work together for a cause but not often. It’s two worlds, speak or sign with not much between.
    I start a part time job with the Deaf/HOH center next month. I’m hoping that gets me a little more involved but I’m not sure it will. I will continue to learn sign and hopefully that helps break me in a bit.

  3. ,Shirley Sorenson

    I don’t really care for the Deaf World, tried Asl and joining deaf groups. It seems like they are very different from hearing ppl not because they do asl or being deaf. I have been deaf since infancy and was mainstreamed. I learned asl in my 20’s, excited to be with *my ppl* but my *hearing world* had permeated my psyche so muchthat there was no way to fit in the deaf world. They spell and sign too fast almost like being HOH in a hearing world. looking stupid and asking to repeat. No matter how many years I signed, , I would always be considered as *think hearing* Besides, it is difficult if u don’t look deaf. Right, right, true story, I had that told to me by the Deaf. I may sound cynical, trust me…..not worth learning to sign. Find understanding ppl to be pals with. Tell them up front how to commuicate with u and keep at it. I had one dear friend who mumbled and talked without making sure I am looking at her but she learned! I do feel impaired in the Deaf World! 50 yrs of trying, I would rather be be in a hearing world and not being reminded that I am deaf in deaf world.
    0

    • I’m thinking I’m stuck in the hearing world too, too many years within.
      I have to tell ASL users to slow down too. I’m almost afraid to tell them I know some sign because zoom! They’re off. I’m taking another CASE class next week. Some sort of sign sure helps in some situations and my boyfriend is starting to learning it finally (an agreement we made).

  4. The answer to your depression, I am sure, is to be with others who are also D/HH. You will find understanding friends at the organizations you list, it makes all the difference.

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