Things People with Hearing Loss Wish You Knew

Things People with Hearing Loss Wish You Knew

There are a lot of misconceptions around hearing loss. For instance, many people underestimate the serious nature of the condition. What can be mistaken for simple misunderstandings can build up over years. Once hearing loss declines it cannot be reversed, allowing for years of communication difficulties to build up into rifts between friends and family, as well as a decline in professional success. This can cause people to become chronically depressed, socially isolated, and lonely, even when among their loved ones. 

Perhaps most frustrating is that it’s an invisible disability that many who don’t suffer don’t understand. If more people understood some important things about hearing loss, advocacy and support would increase significantly. Here are just a few things people with hearing loss wish you knew:

“I am not stupid or rude.”

Misunderstandings are common for those with hearing loss. When people are not aware that someone has hearing loss, it can be mistaken for a lack of attention or the lack of ability to comprehend what is being explained. In actuality people with hearing loss have to work much harder to follow conversation. There are often parts of words that go missing, and while a person hears words, they may take more energy to comprehend. People with hearing loss are not unintelligent and never mean to be rude. Ask a hearing-impaired person what communication strategies can help them hear easier. It’s often different for almost everyone.

“Hearing is hard work.”

When you live with hearing loss, it requires extra effort to listen. Constantly you are required to piece together conversation and sound with missing pieces. This can cause listening fatigue even after a casual and brief social interaction. A person with hearing loss often leaves social occasions feeling drained for the remainder of the day.

“Louder is not always better.”

It’s tempting to believe that the best way to communicate with a hearing impaired person is to yell. While increased amplification helps shouting can actually distort sound further and make it just as hard to understand. Many people with hearing loss compensate with visual cues including lipreading. When you shout it changes the shape of the mouth adding further confusion. Ideally you should address a hearing-impaired person with a clear and gated cadence. Maintain eye contact and keep your face clear, to improve communication.

“Hearing aids don’t work like glasses.”

When you get a newly prescribed set of eyeglasses, they automatically change the way you see the world adding clarity and improved vison. Hearing aids don’t work exactly like that by any means. Hearing aids are tiny electronic devices which are programed to amplify the sounds you need help hearing. For those with hearing loss who have lived with it for years prior to treatment it can be jarring to hear some sounds your brain may not be used to hearing. It takes some time for your brain to get used to these sounds and understand how to process them. Start wearing them in smaller installments around the house and over two weeks work up to wearing them daily. Even if they don’t seem like they fix your hearing immediately, over time they will enhance the quality of your social connections and the quality of your life.

“Please don’t give up on the conversation.”

It can be frustrating to speak to someone with hearing loss. It requires a lot more focus and patience. However, for relationships you are truly committed to its important to take the time and effort. Ask a hearing impaired person what helps them best to understand. 

What you can do

Hearing loss is an invisible disability. If you suspect that a loved one is suffering from heairng loss you can bring it up gently. Ask them what helps them to hear their best. Common techniques for improved conversation include:

  • Reduce background noise
  • Get their attention before you speak
  • Keep your face visible
  • Talk slowly and clearly, not loudly
  • Maintain eye contact
  • Don’t hesitate to ask them if they need clarification, especially if they seem confused.

Treating Hearing Loss

Many people live with hearing loss for years. Don’t be afraid to ask the people in your life to help you communicate clearer and address a potential hearing loss as soon as possible. Contact us today to schedule a hearing exam. The journey towards healthier communication can begin today.

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