Accommodations Advocacy ASR (Automatic Speech Recognition) Captioning CART (live captioning) Communication Practices Hard of Hearing Hearing Loss

Hearing Loss, What Did We Learn in 2023?

Every month when we close out a topic at Hearing Loss LIVE!, we ask ourselves – what did we learn? Usually, we’ve learned at least a few things, if not more. The discussions that pop up in our classes and workshops are fabulous! It can be someone new to the hearing loss discussion who spins us a new perspective. Maybe it’s someone with years of hearing loss experience who shared an offbeat tip or different strategy. The learning never stops and we all learn from each other. 

This is a good end of the year question for us at Hearing Loss LIVE!  What did we learn in 2023?

Limits and Limitations 

This was a great topic for exploration! The discussion around this was so good, we incorporated it into our Lipreading Concepts class. We have been teaching lipreading for years and realized it fit neatly into lesson three. Hearing loss brings us certain limitations. Our favorite quote: “Once we accept our limits, we can go beyond them.” Albert Einstein. This is true as we learn workarounds. We can use limits to our advantage once we know what they are. 

Read the blog that started the conversation HERE

Boundaries for Communication

We use boundaries every day of our life, sometimes with intent and other times unconsciously.  When used properly, boundaries improve situations. Did this topic fit into hearing loss? You bet! If you have a hearing loss, you can use boundaries to improve communication outcomes. 

A communication boundary: “Talking from another room does not work for me. Even with hearing aids, or a cochlear implant, I can’t understand most of what you say.” (Hearing devices work best within 6 feet.) Example boundary/rule/guideline to work on that situation: “I know I sometimes talk from another room too and that’s not fair. How about whoever starts talking from another room, stops and goes to the other person so there’s less frustration?” Ta-da! A healthy communication boundary. 

Read the blog that started the conversation HERE.

A Shared Responsibility for Inclusion

When we talked about inclusion, we started thinking of all the ways others can include us. Wait a minute. The general public only has some vague idea of what hearing loss really means. Unfortunately, most of what they know are misconceptions. This shifts some of the responsibility on us. Because we are a diverse group, it’s up to us to tell people what works best for us. How will they know unless we tell them? We need to educate people and be willing to guide them on what inclusion looks like for us. Then we have to work together to make it happen.

Read the blog that started the conversation HERE.

Help us help you. What were your favorite topics in 2023? Tell us what you’d like to see in 2024.

How to become successful with hearing loss in upper left corner. Sentences radiating out like the sun.
Speak your truth. 
Be proactive rather than reactive.
Learn accommodation options.
Allow yourself to have equal access to communication.
Create healthy communication boundaries. 
Share your story, it helps.
Find your tribe, they will support you.
Learn about lipreading.

As a community, what can we do for 2024?

Hearing loss is common. One in five people have some sort of hearing loss. If you know 15 people, there’s 3 people who have hearing loss to some degree. The numbers are going up, not down. There’s a lot of us out there. 

What’s not so common is full rehabilitation for hearing loss. While hearing aids and cochlear implants help us, however, more is needed to be successful with hearing loss. We need to learn new, healthy strategies for managing our communication. That involves technology beyond hearing aids devices, self advocacy and community. The majority of those with hearing loss have no idea what’s beyond hearing aids.

Ripple Effect

If you’re reading this post, you are ahead of the majority of those with hearing loss. If those of us in the know share our stories and knowledge of hearing loss with others, we pass along information that helps others. It’s a ripple effect. In the short term we are helping ourselves. In the long run, we help others too! That someone goes on to help someone else.  

Example: During the pandemic, Chelle used ASR (automatic speech recognition) apps to get by when masks were mandated. She showed her mom once during a visit. After Chelle left, her mom went to the bank and the clerk told how hard it is to understand people with masks. He encountered many people throughout the day who could not hear him properly. Chelle’s mom told him about ASR. He was grateful to learn about it and probably went on to share it with others. 

Our 2024 Challenge to the Community

We want you to talk about your communication needs more openly. You, the one with a hearing loss. You, the hearing partners. Always share because in the end, you don’t know how many you’re helping. Here’s some ideas:

A purple meme with a ring of gold that has leaves coming off it. White font. The 3 Golden Rules when talking to someone with hearing loss. Get their attention before speaking. Face them while talking. Be within 6 feet.
  • Use the 3 Golden Rules. Make sure your husband, wife, kids, friends, coworkers and public, aunt, and uncle know they have to get your attention first, face you while talking and be within 6 feet. Communication breakdowns happen mostly when they DON’T follow those 3 easy rules. When they do their part, there’s less frustration for both parties. 
  • When in public, use their assistive listening system. All large public venues are required to have assistive listening per the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). When you use a device, give them feedback. Did it work great? Did it have problems? Hearing partners can also check out assistive listening and give their feedback. And they should because they may have hearing loss at some point too.
  • If you have a companion remote mic, use it! Tell people what it is for and how it helps you to participate in life.  
  • When hearing loss gets to a certain point, captions are necessary. You are worthy of captions and requesting CART. We wouldn’t think twice of providing American Sign Language interpreters for the Deaf Community. In the same respect, we are worthy of access to communication via CART/captioning.
Hearing Partners, Step Up!

Hearing partners get involved. If I (Julia speaking) can ask one thing, it’s that all hearing partners get in the KNOW! Stop watching the hearing aid TV commercials full of rainbows and unicorns, dreams because grandma got hearing aids! Or grandpa has a caption app! Start learning real, day to day, strategies for communication with hearing loss. Learn it together for better communication outcomes. Ask hard questions, especially if you’re not sure. Ask yourself, your HoH partner and the audiologist. (Yes, go to the audiologist with your HoH.) Don’t stop there, ask family and friends too! Get the big picture. Then, advocate with your HoH for smoother conversations. When you do get in the KNOW!, share what you learn. Let’s stop the misconceptions around hearing loss and start communicating together.

What will it be?

It’s hard getting out of our comfort zone. Pick one and work on it this year. Conquer that one and move onto another, if you’re comfortable with that. Check off the whole list if you’re getting bold! Even if you only pick one of the challenges, you will make a difference. Go ahead! Create that one ripple effect. 

A screen shot of Chelle and Julia from their last short video. Chelle wearing a Santa hat with white yarn/hair. She has her red lip shaped glasses on and she's making the peace sign with two fingers as a V. 
Julia has her pink lip shaped glasses on and both hands raised.
Both are smiling.
The captions at the bottom say, "Julia: Hi, and Season's greetings from Hearing Loss LIVE!

Happy 2024 to the hearing loss community!

One reply on “Hearing Loss, What Did We Learn in 2023?”

Great Pic. Love all you are doing for the HOH community. Thank you and Happy New Year to you two.

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