Once you are diagnosed with hearing loss, one of the first questions you’ll ask yourself is, “how can I cope with my hearing loss?”
There might be some thoughts that continue to bother you such as the difficulty of living a normal life. Just because you have hearing loss doesn’t mean you can’t have a normal life.
You can still communicate with friends and family once you’re provided with the proper treatment and you learn how to cope with hearing loss.
Like any other illnesses, being diagnosed with hearing loss may let you experience some stages before you know how to cope with hearing loss in one ear.
The fact that hearing loss is an invisible disability makes it difficult for the person who has it to blend in and accept the situation.
Hearing loss sufferers normally go through certain stages.
Stage 1 – Denial
Despite being aware that you have a hearing loss problem, you can still be in denial for years. You might have been wearing hearing aids, but you’re too shy to let your friends know about it. People with hearing problems felt like they have become a lesser person because of the disability. Denial is like a giant wave that washes away your confidence. While you are in denial, friends or family members do not have any idea how to deal with it either. The sole supporter you would normally have at this stage is your audiologist.
Stage 2 – Anger
Once the denial stage ends, anger will take over. You begin to throw a series of questions at yourself. You become resentful and you felt excluded during family occasions. This phase is also challenging because you have trouble socializing or even listening to music. You become annoyed with anything that makes hearing difficult for you.
Stage 3 – Bargaining
Bit by bit, you begin to establish rapport with your audiologist so you can get the most out of your hearing device. While it is the hearing loss that gives you problems, you would often pin the blame on your hearing aid. You are not doing anything to help yourself and see yourself as a victim of circumstance.
Stage 4 – Depression
This is the stage when you start withdrawing from your friends to avoid putting yourself in a stressful situation. You find it challenging to hold a conversation and you become reliant on other people when it comes to telling you what others are saying. While your loved ones may provide you few details, parties or special events become less enjoyable. As your confidence diminishes, so is your circle of friends.
Stage 5 – Acceptance
You start to become more involved with organizations or groups that spread awareness regarding hearing loss. You see your disability as an opportunity to share your story with people who also have it and you learn how to deal with hearing loss in one ear or both. You start to laugh and your reluctance to acknowledge hearing loss is also reduced. You gain confidence and you become upfront about your hearing problems.
Ineffective Hearing Loss Coping Strategies
Lip Reading: When you are engaged in a conversation, one common strategy a person with hearing loss would use is lip reading. While it might be a helpful technique, it is not 100% accurate.
You also have to pay attention to the person’s facial expression but it is an exhausting and tiring process. You will also have trouble understanding what the person is saying when you are in a busy environment where you can get easily distracted.
Fake Smiling or Nodding Your Head: Another technique you can use to understand people who are talking to you is by nodding your head or fake smiling. You will learn the hard way with this technique.
It is better if you ask people to repeat themselves than to nod along pretending you hear everything even when it is the exact opposite. You will also be missing out on experiencing the real joy of engaging in a group conversation when you pretend that you hear everything.
Cupping Your Ears: When you have a hearing loss, you would usually cup a hand around your ear for the belief that this practice can make you hear better. It does not do much when it comes to giving you an accurate understanding of what other person has to say.
Laughing When Others Are Laughing: Another strategy that you might have been using so others would not suspect you have trouble hearing is laughing because others are also laughing.
You don’t want to look clueless so you pretend to know what others are laughing at. However, this is not authentic laughter as you did not get to have the chance to experience the joy of hearing the actual joke.
Hearing Loss Coping Strategies That Work
When you have hearing loss, you tend to isolate yourself. The confusion and isolation often result in creating conflict with family members. Hearing loss causes you to have difficulty with communication.
While some may have tolerance to those who can hear well, not everyone has the patience. There are strategies you can use to help you improve your communication and interaction with others.
- Become your own advocate
- Maintain your hearing aid regularly
- Educate yourself about your hearing loss
- Participate in an auditory rehabilitation program
Become Your Own Advocate
You can cope well with hearing loss through empowerment. It is considered the best way to learn how to overcome hearing impairment barriers with such a condition.
When speaking to a person, let them know that you have a hearing loss so they can speak to you a bit slower. When they speak slowly, you will be able to understand them better.
Maintain Your Hearing Aid Regularly
Hearing aids help you join in conversations. However, frequent use can also cause the wax to clog the device. Be sure to clean it regularly so it will continue to work properly. You should also be aware of other types of assistive devices that can help you hear better.
These days, there are built-in infrared systems for the TV which enhances the frequency. You will also have to discuss the options with your audiologist so you will know how and when to use these devices.
Educate Yourself About Your Hearing Loss
When you decide to seek professional guidance, it is also important that you are aware of your hearing loss. Ignoring your disability will not improve your condition so it is best to seek out an otologist or audiologist so you will know the type and extent of loss you have. The audiologists will perform a series of tests or evaluation to assess your condition.
Participate in Auditory Rehabilitation Program
Having a hearing loss makes it difficult for you to communicate. When you enroll in an auditory rehabilitation program, you will be able to gain techniques to improve your communication skills and even know how to overcome hearing loss naturally. You can also get some software packages so you can use the product from the privacy and comfort of your own home.
Audiologists offices and local universities are also capable of providing these resources. When you are in a group of individuals who has the same condition, you will be able to cope better than trying to cope on your own. National organizations like Hearing Loss Association of America provides support groups and educational presentations.
Your hearing loss should not define you. While it is a pervasive condition especially among adults, it should not deter you from interacting with other people. Seek professional guidance so you will know the next step to take in treating your hearing loss.