Have you ever been so frustrated by your hearing loss that you could just scream? I sure have. This usually occurs when I am already tired and worn out from listening all day, but can just as easily happen early in the day if the mood hits me. I try to roll with the punches, laugh as best I can at hearing misunderstandings — come on — I even write a blog about coping with hearing loss — but nobody is perfect and sometimes I just want to shout, “Why are you not looking at me when you talk to me? Why are you mumbling behind your hand? How many times do I need to remind you to not talk to me from another room?”
Whew! I guess it happens to us all sometimes.
Usually it is my family that bears the brunt of this outburst. I guess I am not brave enough to yell at perfect strangers, yet. This is unfair to my family, of course, because most of the time they go out of their way to help me hear, but they are also around me the most, so it gives them the most opportunities for making communication errors.
Obviously, screaming is not productive, but in a sense, maybe it is. Sometimes we all need to vent and share our frustrations with others. Yelling and screaming is not the best way, but communicating our sadness and anger is better than keeping it inside or withdrawing socially. I know for me, once I have let off some steam and taken a bit of a break from the situation, I can often join back into the family dynamic.
This highlights for me the importance of finding a hearing loss community. While our families and friends love us very much, if they do not have hearing issues, they can’t always understand what we are going through. I know my hearing loss pals have been a source of comfort to me when frustrations mount. We can swap stories, strategies, and complain to one another with complete understanding and no judgements.
Here are my tips for surviving the inevitable bouts of frustration that come along with hearing loss.
- Take A Break: Many times, exhaustion can contribute to frustration. You can read about that here. Taking a short break to recharge your batteries allows your emotions to cool and your brain to rest.
- Try To Put Things In Perspective: This one is easier said than done, but try to put things in context. Is not hearing this one thing the end of the world? In most cases it probably is not. If a loved one usually makes an effort, maybe you can let this one thing go.
- Focus on What You Can Hear: Certain situations are always harder for hearing, like cocktail parties or other group settings. Rather than be sad about what you cannot hear, enjoy talking to the people closest to you, or pull someone aside for a conversation in a more conducive setting. Or just try to enjoy the atmosphere or music.
- Find A Peer Group: Sharing stories with those that understand can be very helpful in releasing tension and sadness. If you don’t know anyone else with hearing loss, ask your doctor or audiologist, or contact your local HLAA chapter.
Readers, how do you handle the frustration of hearing loss?
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45 thoughts on “I Am So Frustrated By My Hearing Loss I Could Just Scream!”
I wear 2 cochlear implants which in my opinion is as normal hearing as you can get. I rarely get frustrated but can relate through before implant time. If I do get frustrated it is in meeting when members chat while speaker is talking or when members add comments but don’t stand up.
Thank you for sharing your experience. I am glad the implants have been so successful!
Hi I also have an Inplant and I couldn’t do without it. My family said when I got them how bad my hearing was because they would be exhausted trying to talk to me.. good luck with them..
Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
My hearing loss is so severe that I miss most of what is said when I am in a group. Being a very social person I do feel a lot of frustration,especially when I ask someone what was just said and they don’t tell me. I don’t ask very often because I remember what that was like when my hard of hearing husband would ask me to tell him what was said. I am trying to learn lip reading but I am really struggling with it because people aren’t always facing you. Men with mustaches and whiskers…well,forget that,haha. I have asked the person I am with to speak more slowly to me so I can process their words. They may for a few words then it’s back to speed talking again,so I just let it go.
Thanks for sharing your experiences. It can be tough, I know. Hang in there. Learning lip reading is a good idea.
Speed talking…ha! I can relate for sure.
Well said! For most of a life time, I’ve worn hearing aids, used coping strategies, adapted, accommodated, and essentially done everything short of asking papal intervention simply to stay tuned to life in a normally hearing world. Perfectly imperfect has been the result. Always. Never am I complimented, “Wow, you sure were hearing well today!” “That was a noisy party we attended, you did a great job staying with the conversation.” “I am so proud that you try so hard……” Never. Sadly, hearing loss and adaptation are personal, unique and constantly variable. Six years ago, I lost my lower left leg due to a “one off” catastrophic illness. Today, I get around successfully using a prosthetic leg. Now, I hear words like, “strong”, “resilient”, “heroic” and similar. When asked, I always explain that I do what I can to get along and stay “in the game”. I don’t feel heroic or super powerful….Silently, I do muse about how “heroic” and “strong” we are with our hearing aids, C/I’s etc. and never receive compliments. For all of us who don’t hear well, I say, “great job”, “I am proud of you!”, and simply “Thank you.”
Great points! Thank you for sharing your story.
My son was born with bilateral hearing loss. He starts Kindergarten in two weeks. I’m going to be sure to begin complimenting him on his great job of listening! Thank you.
That is a wonderful idea! Best of luck to you both!
Wow, thanks so much for sharing this story. I wish some days people could realize how hard it was for me to hear and how hard I struggled to participate. If hearing loss wasn’t such an invincible disability, I feel like people wouldn’t make it seem like a choice or something.
Having you share this made me feel more confident that I’m not “bad” when I struggle or when people don’t understand. I was having a really rough day.
It is always great to know we are not alone in our struggles. Thanks for reading.
There have been times that frustration built up so much that I ended in tears when I was at home alone. But, my frustration came mostly from my unacceptance of the limitations, rather than from the limitations in hearing themselves.
I focus on the things I am able to change rather than what I cannot, for example: I can save money and buy better hearing aids and work hard to fit them the best I can (lots of trip to audi). Also, I try to balance the amount of difficult situations with the less difficult ones. For example, if I play squash and I can’t wear my hearing aids, I play with a friend and explain to him how to deal with my hearing loss so I can focus on the sport session rather than the fact that I am not able to chit chat.
Again, acceptance of limitations and rational management of daily situations is what I do to keep sane. And, I’ve just started meditation which seems to help too.
Also, if you need a place to vent and share experiences, I’ve just started an online chat community called hearinghacks.com. You’re welcome to join.
Thanks for sharing your ideas. I recently started meditating too and I find that a good outlet.
I just found your blog and will definitely check back, I’ve had hearing loss since my late 20’s (now in my late 40’s) and have been able to compensate fairly well in most cases. My biggest weakness (and source of anxiety) is phone calls – I never know when a caller might be difficult to hear. It can be due to various reasons (if they’re on a cell phone, the quality is usually bad, or if they talk too fast or are soft spoken). I have top of the line Oticon hearing aids with a bluetooth streamer, but the problem I’ve found with it is the location of the microphone on the streamer. Why they don’t offer a streamer headset option is beyond me, it would be a godsend for those of us who use the phone frequently for work. My current workaround is a Logitech dual wireless headset. Not perfect, but it has volume control and the microphone for speaking is fixed so callers can usually hear me as well as if I was on a handset. I definitely use meditation techniques on a regular basis to help with anxiety/frustration.
Thanks for sharing your experiences. I am trying meditation now as well. I really like it. Have you tried a CapTel phone with captions?
Have you tried using a Cap Tel phone? I rely on mine so much .
After years of “turning the other ear” due to SSD and feeling like my head was on a swivel I got a Baha implant and am so glad I finally did it. Then – probably the better step was to seek out the HOH/deaf community. Wow! There a whole ‘nuther world out there that understands. There are still times when I get very frustrated trying to hear what’s going on around me that I do join the “I could just scream” choir. Then, thanks to blogs like yours and the HLAA world I remember that it’s OK, just step back, and then usually say, “What did you say?” or just smile and (horrors) bluff. Not sure if this is a good one or not but now I can usually spot other bluffers and HOH in denial and am working on starting a chapter of HLAA in our area. Thanks for bringing this one up.
Thanks for reading! I am glad the implant is working well for you.
my problem is not just frustration on not being able to hear but the hearing aids i have don’t help me hear conversation i just hear every noise known to man. Even with my hearing aids in i can not hear conversations. I don’t qualify for the cochlear implant i need to loose another 20% of my hearing to qualify for that, i am stuck noting being able to hear and reading a lot of close captioning .
Hearing aids can be tricky. Have you discussed this issue with your audiologist? Maybe he or she can adjust some of the settings.
Hi – I just saw an article about a product for people with hearing loss that helps with group conversations. I don’t know if it is on the market yet – does anyone know about Transcense (http://www.transcense.com/)?
I have not heard of it, but I am glad that so many technology companies are working on helping those with hearing loss. Thanks for sharing what you learn.
I was just looking again at “I Am So Frustrated by my Hearing Loss I Could Just Scream” and boy could I relate. I’m a late deafened adult 5 and 1/2 years ago and the other day I got so frustrated with my husband I had a major meltdown, unusual for me. I got a lot of sympathy from my dog. 🙂 It was one of those straw that broke the camel’s back moments. I know I need to accept what I cannot change and I communicate my needs very well to most people but sometimes the inconvenience and frustration just catch up to me. Thanks for letting me vent.
Anytime. A good venting is just what we need sometimes.
I try to get as close to the speaker as possible, look at the speaker as well, in a recent meeting I walked out when I couldn’t bear the pain and frustration of trying to listen whispering speakers, Heating devices are prohibitively expensive in Kenya.
Good ideas. You can also try asking people to rearrange the seats to put you in a better spot. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and good luck to you!
My hearing loss is moderate to severe, was recamended by my audiologist that I needed 2 hearing aids, I got them, and had to get a few adjustments, I still have a hard time hearing unless I’m face to face with someone, very frustrating, have a cap tel phone but still have a hard time,as far as watching TV that isn’t too bad, I can sure relate to a lot of these people writing in,,frustrating
Thank you for adding to the discussion.
I get very tired when listening- I tried the Neurotone program the other day- I had to give up-in frustration-I can not have an implant for some time until the hearing in my left ear has become much worse
Meditation sounds as a great idea do you recommend any special?. It is difficult to be with more than a few people at the time
Thank you to the people who wrote in
Here is more information on meditation. I hope it is helpful. Thanks for your comment. http://wp.me/p52Wnb-wY
Wow, so glad I am not alone. Although I suspected as much. Reading about other people’s frustrations and coping mechanisms has helped a bit. Just experiencing a little fatigue and sadness today. I have been wearing HA’s for about 14 years, started in my mid 40’s. I am very grateful for them as they allowed me to complete my teaching career with dignity and receive my full pension! Now that I am retired, I am spending more time in social situations…..traveling, tours, yoga classes, etc. And I find that I sometimes miss what people are saying, group listening is sometimes difficult. Rooms with different acoustics can even be a challenge! I get so frustrated because I spend so much energy trying to listen and process that I am not talking as much as I used to! LOL That’s not me!!! Today I was in a yoga class, one that I have been taking for a number of years with the same instructor. She has a very soft voice, though I have mentioned I have a hearing loss. She was sharing something personal and at the end, she asked me if I was able to hear what she said. I got embarrassed though I was there with all friends, because what’s the point? She kind of made a face when I said I would get the scoop from my friend (trying to make light of it). I also find that people don’t look at me, they engage with my friends more because they don’t get a response from me? I don’t know, it’s not always like this….just lately. Maybe time for a trip to the audiologist! So frustrating though. Glad I found a place to gripe!
You are definitely not alone! Glad you found our community but it sounds like a trip to the audiologist would make sense so you remain engaged in all your fun activities and friendships. Good luck to you!
when I call my brother with a yes or no question he assumes why I called and starts telling me about where he is and such, I always say what was that again maybe twice. Then we finally get to my question and he is unable or unwilling to give a simple yes or no answer. We live together so it was about his clothes in the dryer. I just want a short, simple answer to my question. I will never call him to chit chat on the phone because of my hearing loss especially since we live in the same house. So frustrating!!!
I am sorry it is so frustrating. Have you tried a captioned phone? That can make all the difference. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
My significant other has severe hearing loss. This man is brilliant and has so much conversation to offer.
I am experiencing severe frustration and resentment toward his hearing loss and trying to find ways to deal with it. I really don’t want to lose his imput on life he still has so much to offer.
Thank you for sharing your comment. Has he been willing to experiment with hearing aids or other assistive listening devices to stay engaged? Many people really like the Bose Hearphones as a hearing aid alternative. Good luck to you both.
He has state of the art hearing aids but they don’t help – he wants to get an implant but he’s 74yrs old – I need help dealing with the frustration and finds ways to encourage him not make him feel bad
That is a shame that the hearing aids don’t seem to help. Maybe his audiologist can adjust some settings? The thing that helps me a lot is when my communication partners use best practices like getting my attention first, keeping the background noise to a minimum, keeping their mouth uncovered, etc. Here is a post that explains some of that. Maybe you are already doing these things. Finding other hearing loss peers can also help him to feel less alone in his struggles. You could see if there is an HLAA (hearingloss.org) chapter in your area. Hope this helps! https://livingwithhearingloss.com/2015/01/16/how-to-have-a-better-conversation-with-someone-with-hearing-loss/