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It’s an invisible disability and generally easy to hide, at least physically, so why should I discuss it? That’s what I convinced myself. I can hear well enough anyway, most of the time. Don’t bring it up. Sound like denial? It was. I was incredibly self-conscious about my hearing loss.
It was an easy pattern to fall into. My father had a hearing loss, but it was never mentioned — a taboo subject, even within our immediate family. His hearing aids were always hidden behind sideburns, grown long for that purpose. I never remember him mentioning his hearing loss, asking for a better seat at the table, or a quieter spot in a restaurant. Often he could be found sitting off by himself at social gatherings. I thought he was shy, but the truth was he probably couldn’t hear and didn’t want to be embarrassed.
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3 thoughts on “I No Longer Feel Shame About My Hearing Loss”
Thank you for posting this. I inherited my early on-set sensorineural hearing loss from my father. I feel saddened when I recall the frozen smile on my father’s face at family gatherings and his willingness to wash dishes instead of participate in the dinner conversation. At the time, I thought he was just being antisocial and now I know he was just trying to cope at a time when there was such stigma attached to hearing loss. Staying silent about my hearing loss is not an option. Becoming involved in my local chapter of the HLAA has helped me become an advocate for myself and other.
Thank you for sharing your experiences. They sound very similar to mine!