The pandemic has been filled with tragedy and loneliness, especially for people with hearing loss, but it has also inspired grit and resilience. Like many others, I have been forced to take stock, learning important things about myself and my priorities. My recent post for HHTM discusses the ways we can take this knowledge into our post-pandemic lives, rebuilding with intention so that our new normals embody the values and character that we hold dear.
An excerpt from the article is below. Read the full post at FindHearing on HHTM.
Post-Pandemic, What’s Next for People with Hearing Loss?
With vaccine #2 under my belt, my thoughts have turned to the post-pandemic world filling me with both elation and dread. Reopening will feature many of the same dichotomies as the pandemic itself. There will be highlights and lowlights, as we take our pandemic resilience and our newfound communication tools back out into the world. I am excited for the challenge.
The Pandemic Spawned Lasting Improvements
Despite the challenges of the pandemic, positive changes emerged that should continue to benefit people with hearing loss going forward.
1. Preference for video calls over audio calls. The world has gone video, meaning the ability to speechread on calls is here to stay. Video calls also often have the option for auto-captions.
2. Acceptance of working from home. More flexible work arrangements benefit all employees, including those with all types of disabilities. Less rigid work norms create an atmosphere where asking for accommodations may be viewed more favorably.
3. Greater reach across geographies. Not being local is no longer a reason to skip an important conference or other event. While I miss the hubbub of face to face meetings, it is reassuring that we can connect in this new way. Going forward, a mix of both will be wonderful.
But Communication Challenges Will Remain
Communication has always been challenging for people with hearing loss, and after more than a year of isolation, our skills will be rusty. The return of the large social gathering may fill some of us with dread. We have adapted to a more solitary life with fewer conversation partners in more controlled listening environments. It will take work — practice and patience — to rebuild our communication skills post-pandemic.
Despite the challenges, I am eager to get out there and see what the post-pandemic world has in store for us. Aren’t you?