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Advocacy Community Members Connections Hard of Hearing Hearing Loss Hearing Loss Conventions Tribe

Build Your Hearing Loss Social Support Network

Having a support network of friends is crucial for resilience during tough times, as in friends with hearing loss and others within the community. We all have our best buds for support but having friends with hearing loss gives us instant empathy. Having connections in the industry gives us insight and valuable resources. Many parents of kids with hearing loss are fierce advocates and also excellent sources of support. 

 Who is in your support network?

Most of us have friends and family from the hearing world. Making connections with others who have hearing loss takes a little extra effort. How do you find friends with hearing loss? It’s kind of like networking. 

Did we just hear a groan? A lot of us with hearing loss become introverts, if we weren’t already. Here are a few ideas to help:

  • Attend our Let’s Talk Tuesday workshops. We have a live person who captions the meetings so they are accessible. It’s only once a month. We won’t make you turn on your camera or participate against your will. Some people hang out and learn quietly with cameras off. Others participate in sharing experiences and thoughts. It’s a good way to get to know us, and others, with hearing loss learning a few tips and tricks along the way. When you’re comfortable, chat with us or reach out after. Sign up here.
  • Find a local hearing loss group. If you live in, or near, a big city, there may be a local group who meets in person. If you’re not in a big city, many HLAA chapters now meet online or have hybrid meetings (both in person and online). Like above, you can participate, or not, while you learn more. 
  • Take a class geared for hearing loss. We have online lipreading classes often. By the end of the class, we bonded and made new friends. Chelle teaches hearing loss classes in person at our local university through the Osher Lifelong Learning program. She finds the same thing happens there. We have 2 Super Saturdays coming up, the classes condensed into 3 hours. Click the link on the lipreading classes page for the schedule and registration.
Use Social Media

You can connect with others online too. There are a variety of support groups on Facebook, pages on hearing loss in Instagram, Reddit has a great Hard of Hearing Community and more. Follow Hearing Loss LIVE! on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Start a comment on one of our posts and watch people reach out.

Light green vines with roses. A green blob with black font: Benefits of Volunteering: Meeting new people, sense of purpose, improve self confidence, make new connections. It's a safe place to build social skills with hearing loss.

Volunteering for a hearing loss support group will give you more friends with hearing loss. Chelle has volunteered for the SayWhatClub for years and many lifelong friends have come from that time. When working in a committee, you can’t help but make connections. Learn new skills as well. The SayWhatClub is always looking for volunteers and there are many options; the convention committee, social media, blog writing and more.

Attend a Hearing Loss Convention

This is a fabulous way to make lifelong friends with hearing loss. Go big and go to the HLAA convention near Phoenix, AZ next month. This has the largest number of attendees and an exhibit hall. 

The SayWhatClub will be in Springfield, Massachusetts which starts at the end of July. This is smaller, more intimate. Likely you’ll get to know everyone in some form by the end of the convention. 

The Association of Late-Deafened Adults has their convention at Clearwater Beach, FL this year in mid-September. This convention is bigger than the SayWhatClub convention and smaller than the HLAA con. They also use a lot of sign language so if that’s something you’d like to learn more about, check this con out.

All three conventions rotate from east to west and somewhere in between each year. If you can’t make it this year, perhaps one will be closer to you next year. Make it a vacation. You won’t regret it. They all have workshops to learn more about hearing loss and are accessible with the hearing loop, or another sound system, and captions. People are patient and they have big hearts.

Green vines and roses for a background. Green blob holds black font: Your social support network gives you resources, connections and empathy. Picture of 4 outlines of people connected in a circle.
Community Connections

Don’t hesitate to make community connections as well. People who provide services for our community have a wealth of information! They too have big hearts and want us to succeed. Here are a few examples:

  • Julia, as a CART provider, continually helps the Hard of Hearing community with resources and connections. Get to know your CART providers on a personal level.
  • Dr. McBride, audiologist, has been a valuable resource and she’s willing to help anyone. 
  • Is captioning advocacy something you’d like to do more of? Join the Global Alliance Speech-to-Text Captioning initiative. They too are looking for volunteers. Help improve captioning with this great group of people.
A few more ideas…

The more people you know within the community, the more support you have to lean on while dealing with communication situations. Meet others further along on the journey, who have more experience under their belt, or people who have the expertise you need to know more about. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. The more you know, the more you grow. Get their perspective, borrow their courage until you find your own. Experiment with tools and strategies. There is no one right way so pick what works best for you when you are looking for support for a situation.  One size doesn’t fit all because our hearing losses look different per person for a variety of reasons. 

Set Goals
light green vines and roses. A green blob with black font inside: Goals to expand your social support network: Join a lipreading class with Hearing Loss LIVE! Volunteer with a hearing loss organization. Join a social media support group.

We talk about hearing loss goals. Reaching goals is a way to build confidence and resilience. Create a social support goal this week:

  • Investigate your area for a local support group.
  • Join our Let’s Talk Tuesday on June 4th 6:00 PM Mountain time via Zoom. Find the link on our home page.
  • Research the 3 different hearing loss conventions, then ask questions.
  • Look into volunteering opportunities with a hearing loss organization. They are a safe place for people with hearing loss to learn more and expand.
Categories
Accessibility Accommodations Advocacy ASR (Automatic Speech Recognition) Captioning College Disability Resource Center Communication Access Communication Practices Education Hard of Hearing Hearing Loss Misconceptions Personal advocacy Public Advocacy Speech to Text Captions Vulnerability

Accommodations: This is Good Enough For You

Requesting appropriate accommodations can be a challenge, especially if the entity has already decided what’s good enough for you. Educating others is fairly easy, usually, once the communication need is explained. Once in a while, however, they aren’t open minded.  When they won’t go beyond their current rudimentary concept of an accommodation, it is frustrating and heartbreaking. 

For National Speech-Language-Hearing Month in May, we chose resilience as a topic. What a timely topic. Chelle was reminded how ugly the process of resilience can feel. It’s mind consuming and exhausting, but in the end worth it. When we stand up for ourselves and our rights as a human with hearing loss, we help ourselves and we help others who come after us.

Green crinkled paper background.
White font: Accommodations are a bridge.
Picture of a white bridge with two white outlines of people shaking hands in the middle. The Hearing Loss LIVE! logo is underneath, @hearinglosslive.
White font: There is diversity in hearing loss. IT's not your job to decide what is "good enough" for us if you don't walk in our shoes.
Resilience, What it Means

Chelle: The last two weeks have NOT been fun. Last December, I signed up for an online course, asking if captions were available for all videos and they assured me they were. When getting an education, I do not want to be doing a lot of educating from my end so I asked about that before buying the class. The first class was great, the second class was video after video without captions. It was a woman’s faceless voice narrating.

My hearing loss is severe and it happens to be profound in the high frequencies. That means women’s voices are hardest for me to hear, let alone understand. This is especially true when I don’t have a face to use lipreading skills with. I contacted the necessary people and asked about captions, letting them know I couldn’t do this without them. Then I reminded them I asked about this before buying the class. 

Using ASR

Three different people told me I could use Chrome’s ASR (automatic speech recognition software) in place of true captions. I said I’d try that but warned them that ASR can go wrong quite often and gave them a few examples. After 3 short videos, I thought I’d lose my mind. 

  • ASR would get behind in translating, then speed up so fast I couldn’t read it.
  • ASR also constantly changes the words in a sentence while it’s ‘hearing’ and figuring out what’s being said via context. (Kind of like hearing loss.)
  • Some words can’t be heard well due to lack of enunciation, or when words are combined with intonation to imply meaning. Example: dropping down in voice at the end of the sentence to imply emphasis or combining words with a little laugh. (Kind of like our hearing loss once again!)

While ASR has proven to be a great help to those of us with hearing loss, when the information really matters, it’s not enough. I gave them examples of what I was running into with ASR and told them I wasn’t able to retain the information when my brain is trying to make sense of where the ASR is going.

That’s when someone suggested I go through the proper channels to get accommodations. No problem, happy to do so. In the form I checked captions and transcripts. The contracted class said, “Sorry there are no transcripts or captions. Use Chrome’s ASR.” No, that’s not adequate and I shared my issues again.

Read the Summary Instead

They came back with; try a different browser and “Use the summary of information you can download from the front page of the class portal. That gives you most of the information from the videos.” A little later, they let me know they reviewed the Chrome captions and they found it good enough. 

This has to be a hearing person saying this. I know plenty of people with hearing loss who will say the same thing I did, it’s not adequate. Don’t get me wrong, I like ASR and use it in more casual settings. Since this is a class, and an important one for me, I do not want to leave the information up to chance. Nor did I feel confident that a ‘summary’ of the videos would suffice. My class was being reduced to a summary for 3 lessons.

Fighting Superficial Knowledge of Hearing Loss
Green crinkled paper background.
White font: When it's not going to work, stand firm for your rights to participate like anyone else.
Yellow font: Educate to the best of your ability.
White font: Enlist support and feedback from your HoH friendly community. 
White cursive font: Keep the scaled balanced.
Yellow image of scales; left side has a black Hearing Loss LIVE! logo and the right side has a white Hearing Loss LIVE! logo.
White font: We know, it's anything but fun. In the end, it's worth it for yourself and anyone comes after you. @hearinglosslive

No, this will not work. I explained that I represent the HoH (Hard of Hearing) community, there’s 48 million of us in America. I’m taking this class to upgrade my knowledge so I can better serve my community. What kind of cheerleader am I when I won’t stand up for the very thing I need for effective communication?

In thinking about the whole ordeal, I realized we are very much fighting superficial knowledge. Does the general public feel that ‘captioned videos’ are using web browser ASR? Do they know this is not a substitute for the real deal? Do they really think this accommodation fills the gap and is good enough? I have broken, distorted hearing but that does not make me less than!

Ableism!

Julia: We talked about ableism in March and here it is! I can’t help but wonder how many students who purchased this program were made to feel less than or received a bad grade and/or did not earn the certificate that came with the class because not all the material was not accessible? Or asked for a refund and dropped the course and went elsewhere?

Higher education needs to hold their contractors accountable for providing full access to the programs they offer. There was absolutely no reason for this program to not caption their videos other than down right laziness. This program’s hope is you just give in. Accept what you’re given while they pocket the money.

When faced with these types of situations, our resilience can look a couple different ways. One, we can dig in and fight it all the way to the end, which may include legal counsel. Two, we can get our money back and find a program that is better suited for our needs.

Do the Right Thing
Green crinkled paper background.
White font: Maybe one thing won't work out exactly. Get creative and find an appropriate workaround. Do not leave the Hard of Hearing person feeling like have to accept less than everyone else.
Image: White arch with the Hearing Loss LIVE! logo in the middle. Underneath is a fat zero under the left starting point of the arch. there's 2 dots then a fat X, two more dots and fat checkmark. The arch goes from the zero to the checkmark.
@hearinglosslive

If you are an educator, don’t leave people out. If your course offers video classes and you don’t have time to caption them properly, offer an alternative to videos. Meet with them in a video meet. (Be sure to follow the 3 Golden Rules and have good lighting on your face in the video meeting.) Take time to email and make them feel welcome. Don’t just say it’s in the summary because at that point, you’re cheating them of the class material everyone else gets.  

We highly recommend captioning all videos. There’s different ways to go about this: Use Otter.ai for a basic transcript, that’s what Hearing Loss LIVE! uses. Rev also works. Upload the transcript to the video and take the time to correct the captions. ASR comes up with some off the wall things at times, like we’ve seen cuss words go in and more.  

Captions not only help people who are deaf and hard of hearing, they also help people with auditory processing disorder, English as a second language, ADHD, autism and more. You help a whole group of people when you have captions. Be inclusive.

Learn More!
  • Read our Personal Bill of Rights for the Hard of Hearing when you feel yourself wavering.
  • Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): “The ADA is meant to ensure that people with disabilities can fully participate in all aspects of civil life.” Title II applies to state/local programs. 
  • US Department of Education on Auxiliary Aids and Services for Post Secondary Students with Disabilities (website); higher education’s obligation.
  • Another resource from our friend Terri with the HLAA-Boulder Chapter. It also lists ways to get video content captioned.
Categories
Accessibility Accommodations Advocacy Cochlear Implants Communication Access Communication Practices Hard of Hearing Hearing Aids Hearing Loss Misconceptions Personal advocacy Public Advocacy Self Advocacy

Accommodations for Hearing Loss

Let’s talk about accommodations for hearing loss for Better Communication Month. May used to be known as Better Hearing and Speech Month. It’s been changed to National Speech-Language-Hearing Month, which doesn’t slide out as well as it used to. ASHA, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, recently changed the name to match theirs. Whatever we want to call it (we see others using mixed titles), May is dedicated to educating the general public about communication disorders. Hearing loss is considered a communication disorder because we lose receptive communication.

Most of the focus for hearing loss is “get a hearing aid,” or a cochlear implant. That helps but hold on a minute! It’s not just up to those of us with hearing loss to get fixed. Communication takes two. Our hearing communication family, friends and coworkers also need to change a few habits. We need to accommodate each other for real communication to happen. 

Hearing devices are a great first step, but as most of us know, we don’t get normal hearing back. That’s a misconception. We love our hearing devices, they give us more details to life but they have limits, which we wrote about last month in Unrealistic Expectations. Even with hearing devices, we also need to learn how to advocate for ourselves in day to day life. There’s technology and services available to fill gaps.

Light green, white and dark green background.
Black font: Accommodations bridge the gap for better communication outcomes.
Image: Outline of two people shaking hands in the middle of a bridge.
Under the bridge: Hearing Loss LIVE! with the 3 leaves logo.
Accommodations Definitions

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines an accommodation as an adaptation and adjustment.  Some adjustments are easy and others take time to make a habit. To adapt, we need to know what’s available.There is a wide range of accommodations to go along with our hearing loss, with our hearing aids and cochlear implants. Accommodations include strategies, technology and services like CART/live captioning. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket (hearing devices). Having several strategies and tools to choose from in situation to situation makes you more resilient.

Personal Accommodations

Do you feel funny asking people to accommodate (make adjustments) you? Do you know what to ask for? For a solid foundation, we created the 3 Golden Rules which are: Get my attention, face me and be within 6 feet. This works with hearing devices and without hearing devices. If the people in your life follow these 3 rules, you will have less communication breakdowns, less repeats and frustration between you both. 

Green background, faded to white then lighter green. A squiggly line looped once and pointing to the text from upper right and lower left.
Accommodations for hearing loss look like:
-Face me when talking.
I'm going to use my speech recognition app to make sure I understand what you are saying.
-I'd like assistive listening for this event.
-I need a transcript to understand the videos. 
@hearinglosslive
Hearing Loss LIVE! logo of 3 green leaves. The bigger leaf to the left has a spiral to symbolize the cochlea.

Because we have hearing loss, we depend on the visual elements of communication. Whether we consciously know it or not, we are constantly looking for visual cues. 

To hear/see better, get closer, turn on the lights and/or trade seats. Those are minor accommodations you can ask for. 

Do you want to know more about the visual aspects of communication? Would you like to learn how to better advocate for yourself? Take our June 1st, Super Saturday Lipreading Concepts class. (It’s all about using different strategies and tools.) Get a 3 hour crash course on setting your stage for easier communication. Empower yourself with more know-how and build your confidence. Read more HERE.

Other personal accommodations: Text me instead of calling. Can you send me an email with all the information? Can we turn the captions on so I can fully enjoy the tv show too? How about we turn off the car radio while we are talking?

Personal Accommodations via Technology

Do you know why we struggle to hear on the phone? We don’t have visual cues. It’s a faceless voice. If it’s a video call, it’s a lot easier to ‘hear’, as long as we can see the other person’s face. Technology is keeping pace with us and we have more tools than ever. If you have a smartphone, there are several apps to caption your phone calls. We have a post on that HERE which includes helpful apps. In that post, we also talk about automatic speech recognition (ASR) apps that caption in person conversations as well. 

Hearing aid/cochlear implant companion mics are also a great accommodation. They are small devices that pair to your hearing aids/CI giving you more flexibility. Hearing devices work best within 6 feet, right? Companion mics extend the distance and also give you more clarity in noisy situations. Give it to someone to wear at a lecture. Attach it to your travel mate in the car. Use it in a restaurant. It’s not perfect, nothing is, but they are helpful. Do not let an audiologist tell you that you don’t need it. They come in handy in a variety of situations. Read more HERE.

How about alerting devices? There are alarm clocks that shake your bed to wake you up. Systems that will alert you to doorbells, fire alarms, weather warnings and more. Check out either Diglo or Teltex to learn more. Both places offer several accommodations for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Accommodations help us worry less about what we are missing.

Public Accommodations

Our hearing devices work best within 6 feet. How does that work in public venues? It doesn’t always work well, especially as hearing loss progresses. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has requirements for “Effective Communication”.  Choices include assistive listening systems, captions, interpreters and more. This includes movie theaters, live theater, sporting events and more. There are requirements for schools and hospitals as well. 

Faded green and white background.
Black font: One size doesn't fit all. Try different strategies and tools to see what works best for you.
Image: A circle with a question mark under a line with 4 circles coming up from the line. The first 3 circles hold an X, the last one has a checkmark.
Black font: Also, different stratgies and tools fit different situations. It's good to know your options.
Green hearing loss live logo lower left. 
@hearinglosslive to the right
Accommodations are Everywhere!

Experiment with new strategies and tools until you find what works best for you. Explore different ways to request accommodation until you find what works best. Try it all, discard what doesn’t work for you. Accommodations improve our communication outcomes. They give us access, helping us to participate which allows us to stay active. The more you know, the more you grow…and so does the general public’s knowledge which we desperately need. 

“Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much.” Helen Keller

Categories
Accessibility Accommodations Communication Practices Hard of Hearing Hearing Loss Mental Health & Hearing Loss Vulnerability

Hearing Loss: Challenge Accepted

With hearing loss, communication is a daily challenge. There are obstacles galore: mumblers, fast talkers, people who talk from other rooms, lack of captioning, assistive listening that isn’t maintained at venues and so much more. Getting accommodated, personal or public, can be a battle. Like all battles, we win some and we lose some. With learning resilience strategies, we begin to win more than we lose. Let’s face it, losing is part of nature. We cannot win them all. However, we can take the battles we lose and learn from them so we can do better next time. 

When you lose the battle, do you give up? Maybe you tried 2 or 3 times and felt like you got nowhere, then gave up. Did you try different ways or the same way? Resilience is taking the ‘failure’ (we don’t like that word) and learning from it. Don’t accept defeat, push yourself. Growth happens with challenges and perseverance pays off. 

Guest writer: Gloria Pelletier, M.S.W, L.I.S.A.C

Black background with a glowing green swirl at the bottom.
White text is a quote from Thomas Edison. I have not failed. I found 10,000 ways it didn't work.
Text in arch: Trial & Error
Image bottom right: Green hearing loss live logo of 3 green leaves.
Text: @hearinglosslive
Try Again & Maybe Again

Chelle: Does hearing loss make me inadequate? Absolutely not. Usually it’s the lack of accessibility that creates an inadequate situation. Given the proper accommodations, I can accomplish just about anything I want. The trick is getting the accommodations. In the beginning, I probably lost more battles than I won. It was trial and error until I found what worked for me. There’s so many options with strategies and tools and so many suggestions from the Hard of Hearing (HoH) community. There is no one right way. One size doesn’t fit all.  

When faced with a ‘fail’ (I’m not a failure), I have my pity party. I rant and whine first with myself. I earned that! It was a tough situation. We are hardest on ourselves so self compassion is a must. It’s okay not to be okay. My timeline for that can be 12 hours to a few days. This is different for everyone. 

Using Perseverance

When I’ve calmed down, I’ll evaluate the situation to the best of my ability. How could I have done it differently? Is it worth my energy to enter this challenge, pushing myself out of my comfort zone? (Most of the time, that’s a yes.) If I find my own way around the obstacle I’ll plot a new course. If I’m unsure of my path, I’ll take it to my HoH community members to hash it out. After getting advice from them, I’ll think about the options and choose the one that works best for me and take the next course of action.

Maybe that didn’t work either so time to re-evaluate. Is this still worth my energy? (Most of the time, yes.) What’s another workaround for this particular challenge? What’s another tool or strategy I can use? Then I try again. Most of the time I break through here but occasionally, it doesn’t work. 

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Facing challenges is not comfortable but for me it’s necessary to get the life I want. They say our growth comes from working our way through our obstacles. It’s not fun but it was necessary. Sometimes I pushed myself just a little bit and sometimes I pushed myself harder.  Getting CART/live captioning for an event for the first time was pushing myself in a big way. I had to work to push against their ‘no’ to give myself the right for equal access. (Why do we feel so guilty for that?)

An easier challenge was creating a new rule at home; no talking from another room. Though I can hear your voice, I can’t understand what you say. Whoever starts talking has to go to the other person. This includes me. Though my husband is hearing and can understand me from another room, what if he has a reply? This obstacle takes repetition. At any given time, one of us will have a fail. Oops! We don’t beat ourselves up for this, or each other. It happens. With practice it becomes a habit to follow the rule but it doesn’t mean we’re perfect. 

Resilience trying again and again until we get it right. Resilience is gaining knowledge from past experiences. Trial and error gave me more tools and taught me options. I have a whole toolbox full of strategies now thanks to experience. Pushing yourself is worth it in the end. 

FEAR
  • FEAR- First attempt at learning ( A.P.J. Abdul Kalam)
  • FEAR – False evidence appearing real (Al-Anon)
  • Fear quote: “We have nothing to fear except fear itself,’ originated with Montaigne in the sixteenth century.


“Fear is a primal response to a threat. It is highly individualized in its manifestation. It is contextual in response. “When our “thinking” brain gives feedback to our “emotional” brain and we perceive ourselves as being in a safe space, we can then quickly shift the way we experience that high arousal state, going from one of fear to one of enjoyment or excitement.” What Happens in the Brain When We Feel Fear | Science| Smithsonian Magazine

The Emotional State of Fear

Gloria: The emotional state of fear has been studied for centuries by various individuals. When we place the emotional response of fear into hearing loss, it becomes a biological response to a perceived threat. I didn’t understand that concept for a long time. I knew I was anxious and fearful of new settings where I would have difficulty hearing. What I didn’t understand is that this is a NORMAL response to hearing loss. Once I understood that feeling anxious and fearful was about feeling threatened by my own hearing loss, I was able to look at a situation more objectively.  

For example, I have been training my student in how to effectively communicate with people who have hearing loss. The other day, I was concentrating on an article on my computer and describing what I was reading out loud thinking she was right behind me. I looked around and she wasn’t in the room. I looked at my dog for cues. He was peaceful so I figured she would show up sooner or later. (He is my hearing dog.) When she re-entered the room I looked up from my computer. She seemed upset. She said, “ I could hear you talking to me. I had told you I was going to another room.”  

Mistakes Happen

My response was laughter. I told her that would happen often with a hearing loss person. My student was horrified and apologized for making a basic mistake, not facing me when she spoke to me. I laughed harder. (Keeping a sense of humor is a resilience strategy.) There was no mistake and nothing to fear, just plain old communication error. I let her know that Chelle and I do that all the time. Since we are around hearing people most of the time, we too slip up. It takes time to adjust to a new norm when we are together. My student feared she offended me. There was no offense, no grand mistake. It was an honest communication error made by hundreds of thousands of people a day. Context is an important part of experiencing fear.  

Facing Fear

In March, Chelle and I led a seminar at the National Association of Social Workers conference for the Arizona chapter. Leading that workshop scared me. Chelle looked comfortable and at ease.  FEAR – False evidence appearing real (Al-Anon). I find it terrifying, she finds it renewing. We have nearly the same hearing loss but our experiences are so different. That poses the question: “Are giving seminars a fearful event?” Depends!!!!!!!!!!!!

Chelle note: This is not completely true though I’m glad I appear at ease! I usually spend the first 15 minutes pushing through nervousness. After that, I usually find my flow and enjoy it.

Georgia O’Keefe (southwestern painter) states “‘I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life – and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do.”  That is my mantra everyday. I fear making mistakes, not hearing a danger signal, not being aware of my surroundings … not , not, not…..  Now I am more fearful of NOT experiencing the world around me.  

Learning Experiences

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White text: Find workarounds to live your life! There's a variety of tools and strategies for hearing loss. 
Green hearing loss live logo at the bottom with @hearinglosslive

Once I understood my own hearing loss, had tools to understand circumstances, had other role models who successfully transitioned their hearing loss, learned lip reading, received really good hearing aids, learned to have receptive language again I was ready to go out and experience the world again. I had tools to be successful.  I was not longer terrified of the world around me or of failing to understand it. It became an experience to learn, not a failure to succeed. 

Be scared and do it anyway.

Take that first step and see where it leads you. It does not have to be a big step. Build your experiences, one after another until you too have several tools and strategies in your toolbox. Start working on your growth mindset.

Learn More with Hearing Loss LIVE!
  • We started 2024 with how to build your confidence with hearing loss. It turns out that building your confidence starts with making goals. In our PDF workbook, we list several ideas for goals with hearing loss. It also comes with our exclusive podcast on Confidence. You can get our “What We Learned: Confidence podcast for free, right now.
  • Here’s a 7 ½ minute Tedx Talk on How to Fail Successfully by Katherine Morrissette.
  • Here’s another podcast hosted by the American Psychological Association titled, How to Fail Successfully with author Amy Edmondson and Samuel West, both PhDs. Amy, a Harvard Business School professor, wrote “The Right Kind of Wrong: The Science of Failing Well”. Samuel, an organizational psychologist, founded the Museum of Failure.
Categories
Communication Access Communication Practices Emotions, Psychological Stress Hard of Hearing Hearing Loss Mental Health & Hearing Loss Personal advocacy Vulnerability

Resilience & Hearing Loss

 Let’s talk about how to use resilience to navigate hearing loss setbacks. For the month of May, we take a look at how to use several resilience strategies: flexibility, humor, social support, dealing with challenges and disappointments and so much more. We explore this topic with Gloria Pelletier (MSW, LCSW, LISAC) throwing light on the mental health aspects of resilience.

May also happens to be National Speech Language Hearing Month (ASHA). “… the focus and effort that goes into making May a month of educating the public about the importance of human communication and what we can all do to prevent and address communication disorders.” Hearing loss is a communication disorder. Let’s learn how to be resilient with our communication exchanges. We invite our hearing partners to join us this May to improve awareness of Hard of Hearing communication needs. Acceptance of new communication tools and strategies needs to come from both sides. Together we can improve the flow of communication. 

Resilience is accepting your new reality, even if it’s less good than the one you had before. You can fight it, you can do nothing but scream about what you’ve lost, or you can accept that and try to put together something that’s good.” Elizabeth Edwards

Get back on that horse!

Gloria: I am old enough that I can remember when “resilience” was  “get back on that horse and ride again.” My father said that right after I took a nasty fall from a bucking horse.  I was not happy nor did I have a good attitude about that horse but I got back up on that horse anyway. I sat in that saddle with every ounce of “fake pride” I had. Then, I pretended I belonged there.  Never again did I get bucked off that horse.

Black background. Two arching green stipes going from middle bottom to middle left. Black hearing loss live logo of 3 leaves in the lower stripe with @hearinglosslive above it.
Dark green text: is a quote by Maya Angelou: I can be changed by what happens to me but I refuse to be reduced by it.
Light green text: There are enough strategies, accommodations, technology and friends to keep us going full steam ahead.

Georgia O’Keeffe, an artist, once said, “I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life – and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do.” I first saw this quote in a book called “Why Do Winners Win?”  by Alyce P. Cornyn-Selby published in 1989.  It was given to me by my therapist at the time when I was accepted into graduate school because I was terrified to move thousands of miles away from home. I had just gone through a nasty divorce and I wanted more from my life than a divorcee mentality.  I wanted to assist people to have more in their lives than whatever trauma was happening at the moment. You do not have to be “fearless, have great self-confidence or a great attitude (Selby, 1989) to be resilient.  What you need is to have “chutzpah.”  Chutzpah is a Yiddish word. One definition: “the amount of courage, mettle or ardor that an individual has.” (Wikipedia)

Back in the Saddle Again

After falling off a horse, I was not happy or confident.  In fact, I was angry at my father, the horse and myself for falling and failing.  When I put my boot into the stirrup and threw my leg over the saddle and plopped my butt down, I was confident. I was back “in the saddle” without incident. Let’s not forget the old adage “try, try again and keep trying.”  And, “the little train that said, “I-think- I- can.” ( A folk tale that has appeared in many different children’s books.)

When the universe knocks on our door, we need to open the door.  We must listen for opportunities and accept the opportunity that may be disguised as a challenge.  Resilience helps us to do that. It opens the door to new experiences to help guide us through to the next stage in our life.

Perspective
Black background with 2 arching green stripes from bottom left to middle right. A black hearing loss live logo in the lower right. @hearinglosslive under the logo
Quote by Mary Anne Radmacher: Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes it is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow."
Light green font: Hearing loss requires workarounds. If it didn't work on way, try it another way.

Julia: Every month we research our next topic. Every month I gain a new perspective about my lifetime of being a hearing partner with Hard of Hearing family and friends.  What does resilience look like for me as the hearing partner? Resilience is my healing spot. When the grieving is done, I find a better way to communicate with my HoH. Why? Because at the end of the day, I want a two way conversation in the best way possible. That means I want you to hear what I have to say too. Healing came for me when I learned more about hearing loss for myself. It was bouncing back from challenges with new ways to communicate. An example, helping my HoH research what types of aids- TV ears, Pocketalker, caption landline, new hearing aids- would do and how it would improve communication.

Resilience is knowing my spouse has a hearing loss and we must be in the same room facing each other to have true conversation. One day not long ago, I realized when we choose to use bad communication strategies, anger and blame was not a part of the solution. We messed up. We need to go to the same room to have our conversation. 

I am a lucky hearing partner because I surrounded myself with HoH’s who educate, sharing new coping strategies and their experiences with me. My relationship with my grandmother stayed strong, healthy and intact because I had a great group of folks around me to help me find better ways to communicate. As a CART/live captioner, working with this community contributed to my resiliency and my ability  to stay on top of communication. This works with everyone, not just people with hearing loss.

On Having A Learning Mindset

Chelle: I’m finding that what I learn through our topics at Hearing Loss LIVE!, can be applied to the rest of my life and vice versa. Resilience is vice versa. My family had the “it was a learning experience” mindset instead of it being a problem. When I ran across a situation, they asked what I could do differently next time. This allowed me to evaluate and research situations to make it different next time. By the time I was a teenager, I was pretty good at this! I learned my way around waking up my parents when I came in past my curfew. 

It took several years to apply this kind of flexibility to hearing loss because I was limited with tools and strategies. There were no books on loss at the libraries back then and there was no internet yet. I had hearing aids and no strategies. My curiosity kept me moving forward. Surely there had to be a better way through hearing loss! Thank goodness for the internet. In the late 90’s I met the SayWhatClub who had an online community via email. I gained strategies and knowledge of technology, with no real personal experience technology because I lived in a small town. 

Stay Curious

Later, I received a personal FM without instruction so I didn’t know how to use it. I still had limited strategies. Curiosity kept me going as there had to be a better way to manage it all. After moving to a big city, I added public assistive listening, instruction on personal FM systems and discovered the magic of CART/live captioning to my personal experience. More strategies came from my HoH social circle and finally I had several ‘tools’ to choose from. These days I am flexible and even creative when it comes to gaining access to communication. 

Another quip from childhood; when leaving in the morning for high school, my dad would yell after me, “Learn things!” Duh, of course I was going to learn things. I was going to school, right? The learning never quits, I realized after finishing school. I have a continuous desire for the pursuit of knowledge and improvement of hearing loss. I learn things all the time and my curiosity keeps me moving forward. While teaching classes and attending workshops I learn things. If you attend our events, or see me at another, you’ll notice I’m taking notes all the time. There’s always room for improvement.  

Black background with 2 arching green stripes on the left from bottom to top.
Black hearing loss live logo in the lower left part of the green stripe. @hearinglosslive in the second green stripe
Green text: Resilience with hearing loss. Bulleted list underneath:
learning new communication strategies.
Using a variety of accommodations.
Being proactive for communication needs.
Connecting with the hearing loss community.
Practicing selfcare.
Light green text: Go easy on yourself. We all make mistakes. It's trial and error until you find what works best for you.
Perseverance

What do you think? Can you start applying resilience to your life? Learning resilience strategies lends us strength and determination to get through typical hearing loss challenges. Get in the know, learn things. Stay curious. Laugh. Humor is a huge part of resilience and we’ll talk more about that during our monthly workshop.

Learn more with Hearing Loss LIVE!
  • Get to know us! Join our Let’s Talk Tuesday workshop May 7th, online and LIVE! via Zoom at 6:00 PM Mountain time (adjust for your time zone). Gloria leads us in a discussion on resilience and hearing loss. We have a live stenographer providing captions. Subscribe to our newsletter for instant access to our monthly workshop.
  • Our Lipreading Concepts class offers several communication strategies. We encourage hearing partners to join their HoH with a “buy one get one free” registration deal. A recent hearing student who attended said; “Since I’ve attended your class, communication frustrations with my hard of hearing husband have been greatly reduced. I’m so glad I came.” Note: Her husband did not attend the class. She came because she was looking for ways to improve communication from her end. We have a 3 hour crash course for Lipreading Concepts on June 1st. Register with the class link above. 
  • Build confidence with hearing loss by joining the Audible Talkers Toastmasters group. This is an online twice a month meeting. Prior to meetings, they send out transcripts of the speeches, they use ASR captions during the meetings and have a few other accommodations. Build your confidence and resilience through participation with Audible Talkers.