How to Combat Resistance to Your Hearing Loss Self-Advocacy

Sometimes hearing loss can feel like a no-win situation. If you don’t self-advocate, you will be left out of the conversation. But when you do, your self-advocacy behaviors are met with resistance, or worse — contempt. My recent post for HHTM discusses ways to overcome resistance to our advocacy efforts. 

An excerpt from the article is below. Read the full post at FindHearing on HHTM.

How to Combat Resistance

Sometimes doing the right thing for ourselves or others is not popular, but even if others cannot see our self-advocacy for what it is — self preservation — we must persist. How do we continue to advocate for ourselves in the face of resistance? I share my suggestions below. Please add yours in the comments.

Share your struggles

Even if you have mentioned your hearing loss to people many times, they may not truly understand the struggles that you face. Hearing loss is difficult to understand unless you have experienced it. Tell them specifics about your hearing loss, including the frustration and sadness you feel when it makes it harder for you to do the things that are important to you. When you share your vulnerability, it is often met with empathy and a greater willingness to help.

Express gratitude

When you ask someone to swap seats at a meeting or to provide captions on a webinar, sincerely thank them for their help. Giving them credit for the “good behavior” will incentivize them to assist you again in the future. This should be easy, since you probably are genuinely grateful for the assistance, especially when it is done with a smile. Pro tip: Make your requests with your own smile and a positive attitude. Both are hard to resist.

For more suggestions, keep reading on HHTM. 

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8 thoughts on “How to Combat Resistance to Your Hearing Loss Self-Advocacy

  1. Self advocacy in the face of resistance is difficult but so necessary. My first experience with jury duty was very uncomfortable due to a malfunctioning ALD and a judge who didn’t understand the needs of people with hearing loss.
    Many years later I am better at advocating for myself. When I was called for jury duty later this month, I wrote to the jury supervisor in advance and explained exactly what I would need: Captions and/or a loop system.

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a passionate hearing health advocate and internationally recognized author and speaker on hearing loss issues. She is the founder of LivingWithHearingLoss.com, a popular blog and online community for people living with hearing loss and tinnitus, and executive producer of We Hear You, an award-winning documentary about the hearing loss experience. Shari also serves on the board of directors of Hearing Loss Association of America. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story she will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      Good for you. Thanks for sharing your story.

  2. I will admit to losing my patience with people who believe THEY are more inconvenienced by someone else’s hearing loss. They simply cannot grasp that Dad takes his aids out because he’s exhausted from the act of listening! That being said, I try to educate when I can. For starters, people need to understand hearing aids are not the equal to glasses. They enable us to function in the hearing world, but they are not a “fix” or “cure.”

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a passionate hearing health advocate and internationally recognized author and speaker on hearing loss issues. She is the founder of LivingWithHearingLoss.com, a popular blog and online community for people living with hearing loss and tinnitus, and executive producer of We Hear You, an award-winning documentary about the hearing loss experience. Shari also serves on the board of directors of Hearing Loss Association of America. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story she will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      Yes, education is key. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  3. I’m sure we are all familiar with the insult that he or she cannot walk and chew gum at the same time. People with typical hearing might be excused for thinking that hearing too is just something we do without thinking while we are doing something else, like say processing what they are saying and responding to it in a coherent way. And for them inability to do that is a sign of incompetence. The quote that “hearing is not something we do in the background, while performing another activity; it is the activity” makes that point. Would expressing it that way be helpful in conveying what the problem is? Of course, it would need to be coupled with information on how, in the face of that problem, your communication partner can be helpful.

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a passionate hearing health advocate and internationally recognized author and speaker on hearing loss issues. She is the founder of LivingWithHearingLoss.com, a popular blog and online community for people living with hearing loss and tinnitus, and executive producer of We Hear You, an award-winning documentary about the hearing loss experience. Shari also serves on the board of directors of Hearing Loss Association of America. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story she will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      It is hard to understand hearing loss unless you have lived it. The more we can explain what we experience to others, the easier it will be for them to provide the assistance we need. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  4. I have a hard tme with asking thers to accommodate me in grousas this affects everyone elseinanegativeway, spoils the natural flow of conversation and makes me feel like I am t he cause of spoiiing the party.because of my selfish demands. why shoukd everyone else’s enjoyment be spoiled just for one person? so I do the best I can , resign my self to missing lot but am just glad to be included. some close friends know enough to takemy hearing loss into account and try to make things easier for me. I think if one whines or dmand thn one will just not be invited because of making things too difficult.
    Regarding your introduction, tihngs have changed since you wrote itWe do not seem to be emerging from the pandemic as masks are again being suggested in most places and required in others and cases are escalating once again.I expect that soon we will all be in lockdown again. I fear for the mental health of society.Ido ask healthcare workers to remove the masks as I can’t understand them but they cannot,. so they just speak louder,Maybe, not understanding that I don’t need louder, I need clearer and to be able to lipread. Masks have made.a difficult situation even more so. I am vaccinated as are every one of them ,it seems unnecessarily frustrating to have to deal with.this.

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a passionate hearing health advocate and internationally recognized author and speaker on hearing loss issues. She is the founder of LivingWithHearingLoss.com, a popular blog and online community for people living with hearing loss and tinnitus, and executive producer of We Hear You, an award-winning documentary about the hearing loss experience. Shari also serves on the board of directors of Hearing Loss Association of America. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story she will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the subject.

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