As an invisible disability, hearing loss can sometimes go ignored. Oftentimes, hearing impairments go ignored for years or even decades - even by the person experiencing it. Once hearing loss is accepted and addressed, it can still be downplayed or disregarded, even by the people that are closest to us. Hearing can be exhausting and daunting with hearing loss. If someone you love may have hearing loss, it is important to understand these things that people with hearing loss wish everyone knew.
Hearing loss is tiring.
When you have a hearing loss, hearing, listening, understanding and communicating can be extremely difficult. Even with advanced technology to help ease the task of holding conversations with multiple people in noisy environments, it still takes more brain energy for people with hearing loss to complete these tasks than those without it. Please understand that those of us with hearing loss are doing our very best, and may just need to retreat to a quieter area from time to time to regroup.
We’re not rude, we’re not ignoring you, and we are certainly not stupid.
With hearing loss, it is possible to miss the topic of conversation from time-to-time or misunderstand and therefore inappropriately reply. This is not because we are stupid or unable to communicate; it simply means we misheard a key part of the conversation. Also, if we do not respond to your quiet greeting or “excuse me”, we are not being rude or ignoring you, we just did not hear what you said.
We do not need anyone to speak for us.
We understand that most of the time this comes from a place of sincerity, however, we are not children or incapable. If someone asks a person with hearing loss a question that they did not hear, do not simply answer the question for us. Instead, repeat the question to us or let us ask the person to repeat their question so we can properly answer in our own words.
Hearing aids aren’t the same as glasses.
Unfortunately, the auditory system is extremely complex and hearing aids have not reached the same level of intervention for those with hearing loss and glasses have reached for those with vision impairments. With glasses, once they are on one’s face he or she can most often see as well and as effortlessly as those without vision loss. With hearing aids, the story is not quite the same. Hearing aids make listening and communicating with hearing loss significantly easier; however, that does not mean that it is as effortless as those without hearing loss. We often still require some modifications and a few more reputations than those without hearing loss.
Very small actions on your part can make a big difference for us.
Everyone with hearing loss will have their own tips and tricks that work best to help them better understand conversations. For most people with hearing loss, it is important not to try to communicate from a different room or from a very far distance. Most people do better when they can see your lips and facial expressions when you are communicating with us. Some people with hearing loss have one ear that is “better” and prefer to be spoken to on their stronger side. If someone you know or love has a hearing loss, take the time to ask them what accommodations you can make to help better communicate with them.
We’re doing our best, and are truly interested in what you have to say.
We understand that sometimes it can feel as if we are not listening. Please know that we are doing our best to hear and understand you and if we ask you to repeat yourself, it is because we care about what you are saying and want to fully understand you - not because we were haphazardly listening!
If you think you may be experiencing some changes in your hearing, please reach out to our friendly team at Hart Hearing & Balance today. Treating your hearing loss with hearing aids has been proven to be an extremely effective method to help ease frustration during conversations and help bring you closer to those you love.