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.
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4 thoughts on “In a Tough Communication Situation? Just Breathe”
Just to let you know how much I appreciate your thoughtful, authentic sharings in these blogs. A little success to report, thanks to your information: My local movie theatre, duly nagged by me and all the others I had urged to nag as well, has now started showing open captioned films. I’m planning to see my first, “The Man Called Otto,” this week.
That is terrific advocacy! Thank you for sharing your success.
I will be working in a very challenging hearing environment soon and will keep this advice in mind. I’m wondering if anyone has any suggestions, other than the breathing, for successful hearing when working in a noisy environment (cashiering in a noisy store). I have a cochlear implant in one ear and a hearing aid in the other. I have a Cochlear mini mic that I can use but I’m not sure exactly how I could use it in this situation. I will have my cell phone but with only intermittent internet access to use speech-to-text apps. I appreciate any advice. Thanks!
Thank you for the question. Here is one idea. Apple and Android phones now have speech-to-text built into their operating systems and neither requires Wi-Fi to work. Read more here: https://livingwithhearingloss.com/2022/07/12/advanced-speech-to-text-technology-could-give-voice-to-many/ and https://hearinghealthmatters.org/findhearing/2022/live-captions-hearing-loss-iphone/