While everyone living with hearing loss has their own unique experiences, there are a few common themes people with hearing loss wish the rest of the world understood. If you are one of the millions of Americans living with hearing loss, or if you are one of the millions more who love someone with hearing loss, this article is for you. Here is a list of some of the most commonly expressed wishes we hear from people with hearing loss.
“I’m not ignoring you, and I want to know what you are saying”.
Because hearing loss is so gradual and also invisible, it is easy for loved ones to forget their friends or family members even suffer from it. Whether you’re speaking passionately to someone with hearing loss or just sharing your day, we know if can feel frustrating when your communication partner keeps asking you to repeat yourself. Please know that when a person with hearing loss asks you to repeat yourself, it is because they truly want to know what you are saying and are doing their best to understand you – not because they are not listening.
“Please don’t give up on the conversation”.
We know that sometimes having conversations with someone with hearing loss can be frustrating and trust us, they are frustrated too. Please be patient with a communication partner with hearing loss and don’t fall into the trap of simply stating “never mind” or leaving the conversation when it becomes difficult.
“I am not dumb or rude, and I don’t need you to speak for me”.
When someone with hearing loss responds inappropriately to a joke or doesn’t respond to a whispered “excuse me” in the grocery store, they are not unintelligent or inconsiderate. Most likely, the person either misunderstood what you were saying or simply did not hear your remark. Kindly repeating yourself in different words can often avoid embarrassment or miscommunication in these instances. People with hearing loss also do not need others to speak for them. As long as those around them are willing to make simple accommodations, people with hearing loss are just fine communicating on their own.
“Hearing loss is tiring, and mentally exhausting”.
livingwithhearingloss.com, Shari Ebarts said it perfectly when she compared living with hearing loss to being a contestant on Wheel of Fortune. “Some of the letters are filled in, others are blank”, she writes, “The contestant (or listener in this case) is trying to make sense of the assorted and incomplete sounds he or she is hearing and turn these sounds into a word or phrase that makes sense in the context of the conversation”. Being able to identify and decipher minute differences in letter sounds such as the “d” and “p” sounds are one of the first to go, so it makes sense hearing loss can feel like an episode of the popular game show. This is not an easy thing to manage, since conversations do not stop in order to allow time for the brain to do all this additional processing. https://livingwithhearingloss.com/2016/01/19/five-things-i-wish-everyone-knew-about-hearing-loss/
“If I don’t hear you, use different words”.
If someone you are speaking to has hearing loss and asks you to repeat yourself, do so once just slightly louder and a bit more clearly. If they do not hear the second time, do not slow down your words to a toddler’s pace or simply continue to repeat the exact same words louder and louder until one of you becomes frustrated. Sometimes, simply rephrasing your words can dramatically improve intelligibility and understanding.
Hearing aids do not work the way glasses do.
While hearing aids have the ability to dramatically improve conversations and quality of life, they do not perfectly restore normal hearing. Unlike glasses, hearing aids do not completely “fix” hearing loss and it is important to know what accommodations your loved one with hearing loss needs in order to fully understand you.
Many of these issues can be improved with the use of the correct hearing aids that are fine-tuned to your specific hearing profile. If you are wondering about your hearing health or are looking for hearing aids that may be a better fit for you, reach out to us at Audio Advantage Hearing Aid Center. We are here to help you, and look forward to speaking with you.