Does My Hearing Loss Make Me Disabled?

I sometimes write about my experiences with hearing loss for other reputable blogs or magazines to help build awareness of hearing loss issues and advocate for people with hearing loss. You can find several of those pieces here.

A few weeks ago, one of my favorite sites sent out a series of writing prompts including “I’m Disabled and I’m a Parent.” It seemed like a perfect opportunity to write about the importance of educating children about hearing loss protection, yet I balked at the chance. The word disabled felt odd to the touch. It didn’t seem like something I wanted associated with my hearing loss. But why not? Was this stigma rearing its ugly head again?

I had to figure out, does my hearing loss make me disabled?

Living With Hearing Loss | A Hearing Loss Blog

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Searching For Open Captions On The Road

I recently read an article stating that NYC is the most accessible city in the United States for people with hearing loss, and that may be true, but every time I travel to London, I am blown away by the level of hearing access. Whether it is the ubiquitous looped taxis, the hearing loops at every museum counter and information booth or the variety of open captioned performances available, I see hearing loss access everywhere I go. Even my London Walks guide asked if anyone had trouble hearing him to please move to the front of the group or wave a hand at him to let him know. I did so with pleasure.

Living With Hearing Loss

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Is My Hearing Loss Getting Worse?

I fear my hearing is getting worse. Since the summer ended, I have been having a harder time following conversations. I more often mishear questions asked by store employees. I stare blankly at the waiter when he is reading the specials. I have also become more sensitive to loud noises like announcements over loudspeakers and trucks barreling up Third Avenue. I am having more trouble hearing my husband and daughter.

Maybe it is just an adjustment period as I settle back into my post-summer life. Rather than days of listening to the wind blowing in trees and the silence of the country, I am back in the city with its constant energy and background noise. Instead of lazy days by the pool, I am busy on conference calls and in meetings. Maybe I am just out of practice such that my hearing loss exhaustion is having a greater impact.

Living With Hearing Loss | A Hearing Los Blog

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How To Prepare for an Emergency When You Have Hearing Loss

September is emergency preparedness month making my most recent NYC Chapter HLAA meeting very timely. It was all about emergency preparedness with a special emphasis on tips for people with hearing loss. I thought the information was so useful, I wanted to share it with my readers.

The session brought me back to the horrible days after 9/11. My husband and I were separated and cell phone traffic was jammed. We did not have a plan for how to be in touch should an emergency happen. We were lucky that we were both safe and were able to independently make our way home to reunite there.

After that experience, we always tried to have a plan for how to communicate and where to go in an emergency. Now that we have children, this plan is even more critical. Interestingly, we never made contingencies in the plan for my hearing loss. From what I learned in the preparedness talk, we need to add some.

Living With Hearing Loss | A Hearing Loss Blog

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Hearing Loss and Highway To Hell

We are sitting outside enjoying a late dinner, far removed from the central square in Bruges, Belgium, where the town’s Independence Day celebration has already begun. The setting is beautiful and timeless, but the band at the party is belting out music at an alarming decibel level. We can hear the noise, but can’t tell what song it is, until something clicks in my brain. It is Highway to Hell by AC/DC. As soon as I mentioned this to my husband, he could hear it too. His brain began filling in the blanks that his ears alone could not process.

We found it funny that I (the one with the hearing loss) would be the one to figure out the song, but then we thought about it. I am used to finding patterns in sounds and making sense out of noise. That is what I do everyday as I work to hear.

Why this particular song was played at an Independence Day celebration in Belgium remains a mystery.

Living With Hearing Loss - A Hearing Loss Blog

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