Educators tell us it is okay to fail. That is how we learn and grow. And I agree. But what about at hearing loss? Is it okay to “fail” sometimes?
I recently got an email from the head of my son’s school talking about the importance of failure. Truth be told, it got my attention because it mentioned Wordle. I am obsessed with Wordle and try to play it every day. I love to compare my results with the family—yes, we are a competitive bunch. We debate who used the best starting word and try to be the first one to sneak the word of the day into our dinner conversation.
But sometimes I fail at Wordle. We all do. More often than we care to admit. Sure, we solve it most of the time, even getting it in two tries a couple of lucky times. But sometimes we don’t solve it. It’s frustrating and exasperating, but it doesn’t keep us from jumping in and trying again the next day. Failing is just part of the Wordle process.
It’s the same thing for hearing loss.
Bumps in the Road Are Part of the Hearing Loss Experience
Hearing loss is a journey, and for many of us it has twists and turns and ups and downs. There are great hearing days and not so great hearing days. When we ask for captions on a Zoom call, sometimes the host enables them and other times they forget.
We struggle. We triumph. And we struggle again. But we keep going—one foot in front of the other down the hearing loss road—because giving up is not an option. Communication is too important to ignore.
This is why understanding the Big Picture of hearing loss—that it is a journey, not a puzzle with a finite solution—is so important. If you don’t know that bumps in the road are part of the process, they could derail you. (We discuss the Big Picture in detail in Hear & Beyond.)
For example, if you don’t know that hearing aids are not like glasses—they don’t work perfectly right out of the box—you may see your struggle to adjust to them as a failure. It is not. In fact, it is a normal part of the process.
Training Yourself to Try Again Tomorrow
People with hearing loss must learn resilience. We need the fortitude to pick ourselves up after a difficult communication situation and try again. To shake off the disappointment of a poor accessibility experience and get back at it tomorrow. To calmly remind our communication partners to face us and keep their mouth uncovered for the millionth time even when we want to yell, “Why can’t you remember what I need you to do?”
But how can we learn to be more resilient? Some of it comes down to attitude.
If we believe we deserve to be part of the conversation (and we do!), we will take steps to make that happen. And if we understand that our own self-advocacy helps other people with hearing loss too (it does!), we will be more motivated to ask for better communication access. It takes practice to retrain our negative self-talk, but it is worth it. And it is an important part of skillful living with hearing loss.
So punch up that new Wordle puzzle and fail all you like! It may be good training for your next difficult hearing loss experience.
Readers, do you let bumps in your hearing loss journey keep you from trying again the next day?
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14 thoughts on “Do You Ever “Fail” at Hearing Loss?”
Excellent article Shari, that really sums it up!
So glad it resonated with you. Thank you for your comment.
Always on point. Thanks
Thanks for reading!
I learned, that no matter what, if you don’t try, it is the same as automatically failing. Most importantly, we learn from our mistakes. It is okay to fail, but not okay to not try. Stay focused. Be smart. Adjust and adapt as necessary.
Well said. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
To failure is not an option. If I fail I pick myself up and have another go at it until I make it or pass it. Have always been like that
Fabulous! Thank you for your comment.
Great article Shari! All of it spot on! Motivation, persistence, sense of humor and wonder too all help me as I know they help others on our hearing loss journeys. I laughed at your comments about Wordle because they also cover all of the above. Wordle is the 1st thing I do every day and then I’m good to go!
Wordle is a lot of fun and a good life lesson too! Thanks for your comment.
Right on about accepting bothersome hearing days along with the ones that make us feel almost “normal.” Those of us who actively advocate for our rights to accessibility similarly need to keep trying to educate policy- and decision-makers. The victories are often slow in coming, but very sweet and signposts of social progress.
Yes, Wordle is addicting!
Thank you for your advocacy. Each time we advocate for ourselves we are moving things forward for the whole community.