As with most things the value of normal hearing goes up once it’s lost. And so does the burden; coping with any disability comes with unforeseen challenges for the afflicted as well as friends and family.
Hearing impairment means constantly being faced with deciding whether to ask for clarification, ignore the point and hope you’ll catch up later, or staying at home and avoiding people and conversations entirely.
As for the burden, constantly interrupting and asking people to repeat is the same as asking them to solve your hearing problem.
The opposite is true when paying attention to conversations, TV programs, plays, etc., that are beyond your hearing ability. Pretending to hear is a surprisingly easy habit to fall into, but means shouldering the burden of your hearing loss alone.
Life with hearing loss doesn’t have to be hard for you or the surrounding people. Use these steps to help maintain a healthy hearing-impaired lifestyle and ease the burden of hearing loss for all concerned:
- Maximizing the hearing you have left with hearing aids - Hearing aid technology is better than ever and the price range is wide enough to fit almost any budget.
- Be honest with yourself - You’re wasting the time of your life by pretending to pay attention to something you don’t understand. A better use of time is participating in sporting activities, which is often less hearing-dependent, and a healthier form of entertainment than watching and listening to others play.
- Be considerate of others - In a way it’s dishonest to pretend you understand since neither you nor the speaker can benefit from such a conversation.
- Think outside of the noise-box - Develop a talent for finding quiet spaces and forms of entertainment not totally dependent on hearing ability. Even in noisy restaurants it’s usually possible to find an area with less noise. Ask the staff if one isn’t apparent.
- Be open about the limitations on your ability to hear - In addition to developing good listening habits to minimize misunderstanding, let the people you converse with know about your hearing problem by thanking them in advance for their help. Assure them there’s no need to shout, that facing you and speaking a little slower is all that’s necessary.
By maximizing your hearing, and helping others understand how to help you understand their point of view, a rousing conversation will never be far off!