Hearing loss can be hard to accept at first, especially when it involves alerting others to your condition and advocating for your communication needs. You may not even know what assistance to request at first. Audiologists are critical partners in helping people with hearing loss develop the self-advocacy skills they need to make communication easier. In a post for Phonak Audiology Blog, I suggest several ways audiologists can help inspire self-advocacy in their hearing loss patients. An excerpt is below. To read the full article click here.
Self-Advocacy Is Critical For Living With Hearing Loss
Self-advocacy is the key to living a successful life with hearing loss, but many people with hearing loss are shy to let others know about their hearing difficulties, let alone ask for the accommodations they need to hear their best. While family and friends provide primary support for people with hearing loss, audiologists are important partners in helping people with hearing loss build the courage and skills they need to request accommodations and other assistance when needed.
Here is how audiologists can help.
Share a variety of hearing loss solutions.
Make sure you are educated about the variety of things people with hearing loss can do to hear their best. This includes hearing aids and cochlear implants, of course, but assistive listening technologies can also be a big help. Remote microphones like Roger pens can be a lifesaver in a crowded restaurant or at a lecture, while speech-to-text apps work well in group meetings and interviews. Providing your patients with a variety of tools they can use in different environments will help improve their satisfaction and quality of life.
Promote hearing loss accommodations.
For many people, hearing loss is a first touch point with disability, so they may not be aware of the many accommodations that are available for the asking. Teach your patients about open captioned performances at the theater, using caption readers at the movies and the increasing prevalence of hearing loops. Show them how to search museum and other venue websites for accessibility information and how to request accommodations before visiting. The more these types of features are asked for and used, the more likely their availability will spread.
Recommend peer support.
Recommend that your patients meet other people with hearing loss. My hearing loss peers are a constant source of new tips and tricks for navigating the many facets of life with hearing aids. Once I realized how effectively others were living with their own hearing issues, I felt emboldened to tackle mine. Before I met other people with hearing loss, I felt alone in my struggles. Meeting other people with hearing loss helped me build my confidence and taught me how to ask for the help that I needed. I am proud to be part of this empowered community.
For more tips, please continue reading on Phonak Audiology Blog.