Family and communication can be tough when you have a communication barrier. There are so many misconceptions and misunderstandings around hearing loss and hearing devices. If we aren’t around others with hearing loss, we may not have all the information we need. That impacts our relationships.
Defining our needs as a community of Hard of Hearing (HoH) people who use spoken and written language to communicate is a challenge due to the diversity of hearing loss.
As an individual, defining your own specific needs, depending where you fall on the hearing loss spectrum, is one of the most important things you will do. The earlier it happens, the better.
The Deaf Community is well-respected and admired for their accomplishments, and rightly so. They have fought long and hard for recognition of their language and culture. Deaf people influenced the passage of the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act). Their culture, community, and communication needs are visible and well-known. For that reason, anyone with hearing loss is commonly lumped together with the Deaf, labeled as hearing impaired or people with hearing loss (pwhl), and assumed to communicate fluently in sign language.
Ignorance is certainly not bliss where hearing loss is concerned. Once diagnosed, the Hard of Hearing are desperate for a map to help them navigate the pitfalls and gaps that lie between what they don’t know that they don’t know and information that allows them to function in life. As patients and family members, they look to those who they assume can guide them and fill in the gaps—hearing healthcare professionals.
Meeting others with hearing loss is uplifting. “Here’s someone else just like me, who gets it and struggles with all the same communication obstacles!” They repeat as needed and face you, and you find things to laugh about and learn from each other. It’s even better attending a hearing loss convention, a world made just for the hard of hearing with live captioning, hearing loops and fun people.
Hearing Loss LIVE! is what happens when a few friends, Chelle Wyatt, Julia Stepp, and Michele Linder, connect over hearing loss and decide to start a business together.
Chelle and Michele both have experienced progressive hearing loss from a young age. Having struggled at various times in their lives to adjust to new levels of hearing, they want to offer others the help and services they had a hard time finding themselves.