When Dinner Includes A Decibel Reader

Certain members of my family are very hard for me to hear. Part of it is no fault of their own — their voices are in the frequency range where my hearing loss is greatest. But I do often wonder if there isn’t more that they could do to project and enunciate their speech to make it easier for me to hear.

In fact, I think other people often have trouble hearing them too. But when I ask them about it, they say they are speaking at a normal volume and sometimes ask me if maybe the batteries on my hearing aids are getting low. Lovely.

Living With Hearing Loss | A Hearing Loss Blog

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Your Hearing Loss Is Unique, And So Is Mine

Every hearing loss is unique. Each like a snowflake with its own nuances and sharp edges. Its own beauty and challenges. Some of us hear high frequencies better, while others detect only low sounds. Certain of us lipread or use sign language, but not all of us do. We all have different tolerances, lifestyles, and capacities. And varying degrees of residual hearing. This diversity makes hearing loss difficult to explain, and very hard for people without hearing loss to understand. 

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When College Students Take an Interest in Hearing Loss

I was recently contacted by students at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to learn more about my experiences living with hearing loss. Specifically they were interested in my thoughts on moderating the volume of my voice. They had seen a blog post I had written about the difficulty people with hearing loss often have knowing if they are speaking at the right volume in different settings. You can read that post here.

The students had a friend with hearing loss, who had explained to them the difficulty he had matching his voice to the ambient environment during interviews and other important academic and professional meetings. He said he was often intimidated to go to an interview for fear of embarrassing himself by speaking too loudly or too softly. This inspired the students to design a product to solve his problem.

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How To Support A Loved One Who Has Hearing Loss

I am proud to share my hearing loss story and tips on Mango Health. 

Do you know somebody with hearing loss? With nearly 50 million Americans suffering from hearing loss, you probably do. Hearing loss does not discriminate. It impacts people of all ages, races, and creeds. In fact 65% of people with hearing problems are under the age of 65. One in five teenagers now has hearing loss, as well as 60% of our returning veterans from foreign wars. It is everywhere! If someone close to you has hearing loss, you may have wondered how best to support them. Hearing health advocate Shari Eberts has nine tips that can help.

Living With Hearing Loss | A Hearing Loss Blog

When someone has hearing loss, friends and family are also impacted. Communication patterns must be altered, new technologies learned, and everyone must adjust to the new reality. Frustration on either side can take a toll on these relationships. Follow these tips to support a loved one with hearing loss and keep your connections strong and vibrant.

Encourage them to get their hearing tested.

Because hearing loss often occurs gradually, friends and family may be the first people to notice. Perhaps the person is resistant to the idea that they have trouble hearing. Tell the person how much you love them and that you worry that he or she might miss out on parts of conversations or even be put in danger by impaired hearing.

Use communication best practices.

Show the person with hearing loss that you are willing to make changes too. Follow communication best practices like always facing the person, keeping your mouth uncovered and speaking clearly and at a consistent rate. Many of these actions are common sense, but it takes effort to implement them in every conversation.

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How Can We Make Our Hearing Loss Less Invisible?

Hearing loss is invisible. It cannot be seen, especially if someone is trying to hide it, which many people with hearing loss still are. When I mention my hearing loss to others, many times, the person will reply, “But, you don’t look deaf.” This always makes me laugh (once I stop rolling my eyes in annoyance), because hearing loss does not look a certain way. People with hearing loss come in all shapes, sizes, and are of all ages, races and creeds. In fact, 65% of people with hearing loss are under the age of 65.

Since it is invisible, hearing loss is easily overlooked, ignored or not taken seriously. Nobody would deny someone in a wheelchair needing assistance opening a door, but requests for hearing loops or captioning are sometimes met with resistance. Hearing loss is just a normal part of getting older, people think. No big deal. They are wrong.

Living With Hearing Loss | A Hearing Loss Blog

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