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.
When we apply a little vulnerability, life with hearing loss gets a little easier. Sharing our experiences helps break down the mystery behind hearing loss. Asking others to help us find solutions invites creativity.
Don’t avoid the uncomfortable.
Michele: Emily Nagoski, who has a PhD in health behavior, talks about the fear of uncomfortable feelings, which is another way to say the fear of vulnerability: “One of the things I say over and over… is that feelings are tunnels. You have to go through the darkness to get to the light at the end… You’ve got to work all the way through it… [I] grew up in a family where uncomfortable feelings were not allowed, and… [I was] pretty sure that uncomfortable feelings [were more like] caves with bats and rats and snakes and a river of poison.“
Hearing loss comes with a cycle of emotions—sadness, grief, anger, depression, pain of isolation, and feeling panicked at not being able to do things in exactly the same way as you used to, or not all. One of the biggest things most people miss about hearing loss is how emotional it is.
Big moments—a loss that is glaringly and painfully apparent—and day-to-day challenges make life with hearing loss an ongoing rollercoaster of emotions.
The majority of us with hearing loss have felt sham at some point. Hearing loss is stigmatized by society and definitely by those of us who experience it. People who are Hard of Hearing (HoH) are sometimes looked upon as less than, and no one welcomes being different when there is stigma attached. And, because hearing loss is an invisible disability, it is easy to hide.