For people with hearing loss, conversation can be exhausting. It’s like playing a game of Wheel of Fortune, where some of the letters are filled in, others are missing. And once your communication partner stops talking, you need to reply! In this recent piece for Ida Institute I discuss how mindful breathing can help us take on tough communication situations.
See an excerpt below or read the full article here.
Mindful Breathing Can Help with Hearing Loss
Will I be able to enjoy this dinner with friends if they forget to speak one at a time?
How will I understand the doctor’s instructions from behind a mask?
What if this Zoom meeting doesn’t have captions even though I requested them a week in advance?
Hearing loss is challenging, but stress won’t help us solve our communication problems. In fact, stress can elicit fight or flight, the exact opposite of the calm self-advocacy mindset we need to communicate well. Mindful breathing can help.
Why does mindful breathing help us relax?
The human autonomic nervous system has two main parts. The sympathetic nervous system, which controls the body’s response to a perceived threat or stressor (fight or flight), and the parasympathetic nervous system, which controls homeostasis (rest and digest). In fight or flight, breathing becomes shallow and rapid to increase oxygen flow, making our bodies ready for action. In rest and digest, the opposite happens. Breathing deepens and slows, returning the body to calm.
These responses are automatic, but you can trigger them through mindful breathing. When I face a particularly frustrating listening experience, rather than panic or give up, I try to just breathe. With three mindful breaths, I calm my heart rate and switch my body to a more restful state. Then, I can more easily shift my focus from worrying about what I can’t hear to taking the steps I need to communicate better.
Continue reading on Ida Institute.