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Hearing loss affects millions of people around the world. Whether it’s due to genetics, age, or exposure to loud noise, hearing loss can have a significant impact on a person’s life. People with hearing loss often face many challenges, from difficulty communicating with others to social isolation and loneliness. As a hearing professional, I’ve seen firsthand how hearing loss can affect people’s lives. That’s why I want to share the 5 things people with hearing loss want you to remember.
“I am not being rude.”
If a person with a hearing loss reacts inappropriately to a joke or fails to respond to an “excuse me” whispered to them in a grocery store, it does not mean that they are unintelligent or impolite. It is likely that they simply misunderstood what was said or did not hear the comment.
“Hearing requires effort.”
Living with hearing loss requires significant effort. People with normal hearing may not realize this, as hearing comes naturally to them. Whether at work meetings or social events, those with hearing loss need to expend more energy to comprehend others.
They must work harder to make sense of distorted sounds or words in conversations, keep up with discussions, and find appropriate ways to respond. This can be mentally and physically exhausting, and people with hearing loss often leave social gatherings with no energy left for the rest of the day.
“Speaking louder is not always helpful.”
Volume does not always provide clarity. The louder someone speaks, the more their words can become distorted. It is better to speak clearly and get the person’s attention physically before speaking. Avoid speaking and then walking away. If the person with hearing loss still cannot understand, try to rephrase your words.
“Hearing aids are not like glasses.”
Glasses turn blurry images into clear, sharp ones that correct vision. While hearing aids can help greatly, using them does not mean that one’s normal hearing is restored. They amplify sounds but do not always make them clearer. Although technology is improving all the time, some hearing aids may not distinguish between the speaker’s voice and background noise, making it difficult to focus on conversations in certain environments.
“I still have a voice.”
One of the most challenging aspects of losing one’s hearing is the loss of independence. A person with hearing loss still wants to be heard and express their needs and opinions. When out in public places like restaurants, keep these needs in mind. Although well-intentioned, ordering for a friend or family member with hearing loss is not always necessary. Instead, ask them what they did not understand and help guide them to order for themselves.
“Most people I meet don’t know I have hearing loss.”
Hearing loss can often be invisible because it doesn’t necessarily cause any visible physical changes to a person’s appearance. Someone with hearing loss may look perfectly healthy and normal, but they may have difficulty hearing or understanding speech, especially in noisy environments.
For many individuals with conditions that are invisible or not immediately apparent, such as hearing loss, it can be challenging to communicate their needs and experiences to others. They may feel like their condition is not taken seriously or that they are not fully understood by others.
At the same time, some individuals with invisible conditions may also feel a sense of privacy or control over their condition, as they can choose whether or not to disclose it to others. It can be a complex and nuanced experience, and everyone’s feelings and experiences may differ.
“Social Isolation is a Real Concern.”
The last thing to remember is that hearing loss can lead to social isolation and loneliness. People with hearing loss may avoid social situations because they are afraid of not being able to understand conversations or feeling embarrassed about asking people to repeat themselves. This can lead to feelings of loneliness and depression. It’s important to create inclusive environments where people with hearing loss feel comfortable and included.
If you or someone you know is experiencing hearing loss, don’t wait to seek treatment. Hearing aids and other assistive devices can significantly improve a person’s quality of life. At our hearing practice, we are dedicated to helping people with hearing loss find the right solutions for their needs. Don’t let hearing loss hold you back – visit us today to learn more about your options.