No doubt about it, hearing loss imposes limits on our communication and participation. Feeling our way through new limits after big drops is a challenge. The new limits imposed on us can be overwhelming and isolating. It takes time to grieve for them and then heal.
Post by Julia Stepp
“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”– Leo Tolstoy, Russian Writer
Not long ago, I realized I’ve been a hearing partner my whole life. An aha moment during our Lipreading Concepts class recently reminded me I have been practicing hearing loss communication rules since I was a kid. My grandmother would touch my arm so I would look at her, then she’d say, “Now repeat that.” This simple routine started when I was 7 or 8 years old.
Communication is a chore in general. Add hearing loss and it’s 10 times more challenging. At Hearing Loss LIVE!, we say this all the time in regards to communication: We cannot do our part, if others don’t do their part. The following 3 guidelines are for our hearing communication partners – this is their part of the communication equation:
- Get the hard of hearing person’s attention first, before talking.
- Face that person while talking the whole time. The minute you turn away, sound starts to fade a bit. We need sound coming right to us. Also, seeing is hearing. We use facial expressions, body language and minor lipreading to help interpret the spoken language.
- Be within 6 feet because the closer you are the better the sound quality. Again, seeing is hearing.
Written by Michele Linder
It is tempting to frame disability in the context of limitations. Certainly, Hard of Hearing (HoH) people face a communication barrier. That means they either find workarounds in situations where communication is a challenge, or give up and accept less out of life.
Getting hung up on what we can’t do is a natural tendency when we are going through the stages of emotional trauma that hearing loss forces upon us. However, we can choose to come out the other side a better person.
Fear is the vehicle for unnecessary limitations, and can rob anyone of a life well-lived. Having a barrier makes it easy to justify I can’t.
When others tell you that you CAN’T do something because of your hearing loss, it is your decision to accept or reject that limit. You determine what limits are acceptable, and those that are not.