At the start of my hearing loss journey, I didn’t know anyone that could show me the ropes. When I struggled to hear in a loud restaurant or was tired after a long day of speechreading, I was discouraged. I hadn’t realized that this was normal…typical…to be expected. All in a day’s work for people with hearing loss. But once I found hearing loss peers, this all changed. In this article for HHTM, I share the joy I find in the hearing loss community and encourage people with hearing loss—and audiologists too—to become part of the community. You won’t be sorry.
An excerpt from the article is below. Read the full post at FindHearing on HHTM.
Finding Joy in the Hearing Loss Community
“I love coming to the Walk so I can see other people like me,” one adorable hearing-aid-clad 10-year-old girl declared to the socially distanced crowd gathered in Riverside Park for the annual New York City Walk4Hearing. Her joy was as evident as it was contagious. I found myself thinking the same thing. We all want to feel like we belong.
Hearing loss is difficult to understand if you have not experienced it yourself. Even friends and family cannot fully anticipate the communicate challenges that may emerge in each new listening situation. They provide their love and assistance but hearing loss friends provide something else—lived experiences that mimic our own. Both types of support are important as we strive to live our best lives despite the challenges of hearing loss.
Hearing loss peers helped me realize I was not alone in my struggles to communicate. They shared tips and tricks with me that I use today to create workarounds in difficult listening situations. They taught me how to advocate for myself and for others. Many have become close friends, as we discovered overlapping interests that reach beyond our shared hearing loss experiences.
If you have hearing loss but don’t yet have any hearing loss friends—Get some!
Understanding the Lived Experience Important for Audiologists Too
Creating ties to the hearing loss community is also important for audiologists, many of whom do not regularly see people with hearing loss outside of their clinics. Real-world interactions are key to understanding the lived experience, a critical aspect of person-centered care, the best practice standard for hearing care.
Keep reading on HHTM.