Secrets Can Eat You Up from the Inside

Who have I told? What have I told them?

Why am I keeping this secret again?

Secrets can eat you up from the inside. I know because I hid my hearing loss for many years—or at least I did my best to hide it. Often hearing loss is not as secret we think it is. Coming out of my hearing loss closet was not easy, but it is one of the best things I have ever done. No more dodging difficult communication situations, faking laughter or worrying that I missed important information because I was too afraid to let others know about my hearing loss and ask for a repeat. I accepted myself for who I am and learned to live skillfully with my hearing loss.

Most of the time.

It’s like the MindShift in Hear & Beyond: Live Skillfully with Hearing Loss:

Being open about my hearing loss will help me communicate better. Trying to hide my hearing loss leads to misunderstandings.

Why Hadn’t I Learned My Lesson?

Disclosing my hearing loss is routine for me now, so when I was diagnosed with breast cancer a few months ago, why was my first instinct to hide it? Perhaps I was worried people would think less of me or pity me or want to steer clear. Or maybe because the diagnosis and required treatment made me feel vulnerable and I wanted to avoid sharing that feeling with others. Or maybe I simply felt it was too personal to share.

Sound familiar? These are the same worries many of us hold about disclosing our hearing loss.

It was a busy time near the end of the year so I powered on, speaking at conferences, recording podcast interviews, taking yoga classes, attending holiday parties—all without a word. But it weighed on me, just like my hearing loss secret did all those years ago.

So, I am keeping the secret no more.

Yesterday, I told my yoga instructor before class and the day before an acquaintance I ran into on the street. And just as it is often the case when I tell others about my hearing loss, people have begun sharing their own struggles with cancer or other health issues with me. We all have something that challenges us.

Moving Forward with an Open Heart

And now I am telling all of you.

My prognosis is very good—the doctors caught it early—and treatment is almost complete. I feel strong and able to meet this new health challenge. Even so, managing doctor’s appointments, surgeries and radiation treatments is difficult and having hearing loss adds additional challenges. Self-advocacy is a must every step of the way so stay tuned for more posts with tips for navigating the healthcare system with hearing loss.

Thank you in advance for all your support! I am optimistic this will soon be a bump in my rearview mirror.

Readers, are any secrets weighing on you?

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Book: Hear & Beyond: Live Skillfully with Hearing Loss

31 thoughts on “Secrets Can Eat You Up from the Inside

  1. Dear Shari, Thank you for sharing this with us. I believe that sharing helps us as well as others. Dealing with health issues can be hard enough without the burden that comes with keeping secrets. Bless you and wishing you well, Georgia

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a passionate hearing health advocate and internationally recognized author and speaker on hearing loss issues. She is the founder of Living with Hearing Loss, a popular blog and online community for people with hearing loss, and an executive producer of "We Hear You," an award-winning documentary about the hearing loss experience. Her book, "Hear & Beyond: Live Skillfully with Hearing Loss," (co-authored with Gael Hannan) is the ultimate survival guide to living well with hearing loss. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, she will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      Thank you for your support!

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a passionate hearing health advocate and internationally recognized author and speaker on hearing loss issues. She is the founder of Living with Hearing Loss, a popular blog and online community for people with hearing loss, and an executive producer of "We Hear You," an award-winning documentary about the hearing loss experience. Her book, "Hear & Beyond: Live Skillfully with Hearing Loss," (co-authored with Gael Hannan) is the ultimate survival guide to living well with hearing loss. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, she will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      Thank you for your words of support!

  2. I agree. But it’s a double edged sword because there are some people in my life who believe I’m either attention seeking when self advocating, or that it’s all I talk about. Neither is true, but it seems no matter what, my issues lead to misunderstandings.

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a passionate hearing health advocate and internationally recognized author and speaker on hearing loss issues. She is the founder of Living with Hearing Loss, a popular blog and online community for people with hearing loss, and an executive producer of "We Hear You," an award-winning documentary about the hearing loss experience. Her book, "Hear & Beyond: Live Skillfully with Hearing Loss," (co-authored with Gael Hannan) is the ultimate survival guide to living well with hearing loss. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, she will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      It can be difficult. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a passionate hearing health advocate and internationally recognized author and speaker on hearing loss issues. She is the founder of Living with Hearing Loss, a popular blog and online community for people with hearing loss, and an executive producer of "We Hear You," an award-winning documentary about the hearing loss experience. Her book, "Hear & Beyond: Live Skillfully with Hearing Loss," (co-authored with Gael Hannan) is the ultimate survival guide to living well with hearing loss. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, she will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      Thank you for your good wishes!

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a passionate hearing health advocate and internationally recognized author and speaker on hearing loss issues. She is the founder of Living with Hearing Loss, a popular blog and online community for people with hearing loss, and an executive producer of "We Hear You," an award-winning documentary about the hearing loss experience. Her book, "Hear & Beyond: Live Skillfully with Hearing Loss," (co-authored with Gael Hannan) is the ultimate survival guide to living well with hearing loss. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, she will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      Thank you for your kind words and your support!

  3. Dear Shari. Thanks for sharing and I am keeping you on my thoughts for a speedy recovery and hope your path through the medical system goes smooth. The sharing of your articles have helped me so much with tips and the knowledge we are not alone in our struggles with hearing loss and I hope it helps for you to know we care about you.

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a passionate hearing health advocate and internationally recognized author and speaker on hearing loss issues. She is the founder of Living with Hearing Loss, a popular blog and online community for people with hearing loss, and an executive producer of "We Hear You," an award-winning documentary about the hearing loss experience. Her book, "Hear & Beyond: Live Skillfully with Hearing Loss," (co-authored with Gael Hannan) is the ultimate survival guide to living well with hearing loss. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, she will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      Thank you Mary! Your support means a lot!

  4. Dear Shari
    I would like to add my best wishes for your recovery! Such good news it was caught early.

    Re. sharing hearing loss I remember your story of your father and his seemingly extreme reluctance to share his and wondered at the time if, in those days perhaps before the Disability Act was passed, whether he was concerned that if he shared his hearing loss he might lose a job he needed to support the family. Although on thinking about that it would be a hard thing to hide in many jobs.

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a passionate hearing health advocate and internationally recognized author and speaker on hearing loss issues. She is the founder of Living with Hearing Loss, a popular blog and online community for people with hearing loss, and an executive producer of "We Hear You," an award-winning documentary about the hearing loss experience. Her book, "Hear & Beyond: Live Skillfully with Hearing Loss," (co-authored with Gael Hannan) is the ultimate survival guide to living well with hearing loss. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, she will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      Thank you Barbara! And yes, that may have been part of it. Although I don’t think anyone was fooled by his “secrecy.”

  5. Wishing you the very best as you move forward after surgeries and additional medical help. May your voice and column be a help to those of us who both struggle and advocate in the hospital medical system. It is truly difficult to deal with a hearing loss and be struggling with serious medical issues. Even routine medical appointments can be very difficult and truly this area needs to improve. A special thank you to the doctors and hospitals who are willing to learn and help us.

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a passionate hearing health advocate and internationally recognized author and speaker on hearing loss issues. She is the founder of Living with Hearing Loss, a popular blog and online community for people with hearing loss, and an executive producer of "We Hear You," an award-winning documentary about the hearing loss experience. Her book, "Hear & Beyond: Live Skillfully with Hearing Loss," (co-authored with Gael Hannan) is the ultimate survival guide to living well with hearing loss. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, she will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      Thank you so much for your support!

  6. Thanks for sharing so openly, that takes bravery and courage and you probably needed to process it personally first, it’s inevitably a lot of change. I’ll be crossing my fingers for you that treatment goes as smooth as possible. I always enjoy your blog posts, thank you.

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a passionate hearing health advocate and internationally recognized author and speaker on hearing loss issues. She is the founder of Living with Hearing Loss, a popular blog and online community for people with hearing loss, and an executive producer of "We Hear You," an award-winning documentary about the hearing loss experience. Her book, "Hear & Beyond: Live Skillfully with Hearing Loss," (co-authored with Gael Hannan) is the ultimate survival guide to living well with hearing loss. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, she will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      Thank you for your kind words of support!

  7. Happy Valentine’s Day, thank you for sharing your story with us, the healthcare system needs to be educated on how to work with hearing loss and deaf patients, so many times I would repeatedly tell the nurses that would take care of my mom that she was deaf, and over and over again they would not read the sign or yell at her. I often wonder in case of an emergency how do responders communicate with them. I also hid my hearing loss for about 35 years, the best thing I did was disclose it in my personal and professional life. I wish you a speedy recovery and looking forward to your next blog.

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a passionate hearing health advocate and internationally recognized author and speaker on hearing loss issues. She is the founder of Living with Hearing Loss, a popular blog and online community for people with hearing loss, and an executive producer of "We Hear You," an award-winning documentary about the hearing loss experience. Her book, "Hear & Beyond: Live Skillfully with Hearing Loss," (co-authored with Gael Hannan) is the ultimate survival guide to living well with hearing loss. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, she will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      Thank you for your good wishes.

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a passionate hearing health advocate and internationally recognized author and speaker on hearing loss issues. She is the founder of Living with Hearing Loss, a popular blog and online community for people with hearing loss, and an executive producer of "We Hear You," an award-winning documentary about the hearing loss experience. Her book, "Hear & Beyond: Live Skillfully with Hearing Loss," (co-authored with Gael Hannan) is the ultimate survival guide to living well with hearing loss. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, she will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      Thank you for your good wishes!

  8. Will keep you in my prayers! Our paths in life are not always easy, we don’t always understand the ‘why’s’ but we move forward with others walking beside us in faith and encouraging us as we find the best medical care and resources that are available. One day at a time…and sometimes one moment at a time…blessings!

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a passionate hearing health advocate and internationally recognized author and speaker on hearing loss issues. She is the founder of Living with Hearing Loss, a popular blog and online community for people with hearing loss, and an executive producer of "We Hear You," an award-winning documentary about the hearing loss experience. Her book, "Hear & Beyond: Live Skillfully with Hearing Loss," (co-authored with Gael Hannan) is the ultimate survival guide to living well with hearing loss. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, she will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      Thank you for your support!

  9. I love your positive attitude and hope that the coping skills you’ve gained by confronting your hearing loss will help you navigate this health challenge. Thanks for being an inspiration to us all.

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a passionate hearing health advocate and internationally recognized author and speaker on hearing loss issues. She is the founder of Living with Hearing Loss, a popular blog and online community for people with hearing loss, and an executive producer of "We Hear You," an award-winning documentary about the hearing loss experience. Her book, "Hear & Beyond: Live Skillfully with Hearing Loss," (co-authored with Gael Hannan) is the ultimate survival guide to living well with hearing loss. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, she will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      Thank you for your support!

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a passionate hearing health advocate and internationally recognized author and speaker on hearing loss issues. She is the founder of Living with Hearing Loss, a popular blog and online community for people with hearing loss, and an executive producer of "We Hear You," an award-winning documentary about the hearing loss experience. Her book, "Hear & Beyond: Live Skillfully with Hearing Loss," (co-authored with Gael Hannan) is the ultimate survival guide to living well with hearing loss. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, she will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      Thank you for your support and kind words.

  10. Shari, I’m so sorry to hear about your diagnosis! But I’m 100% confident that you will put cancer in your rearview mirror and never look back. And you’re doing so with your usual grace and strength.
    Your post got me thinking about secrets, especially health secrets. Fear is a powerful emotion, With a diagnosis like cancer or hearing loss, fear of the unknown really dominates. We do all have our health challenges, even beyond hearing loss. I need to give this idea some further thought. We are all here for each other, after all.
    Thank you for sharing and your thinking. As always, you bring such insight and compassion to everything you write.
    Please let me know if there’s any way I can help. My warmest wishes for continued healing,

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a passionate hearing health advocate and internationally recognized author and speaker on hearing loss issues. She is the founder of Living with Hearing Loss, a popular blog and online community for people with hearing loss, and an executive producer of "We Hear You," an award-winning documentary about the hearing loss experience. Her book, "Hear & Beyond: Live Skillfully with Hearing Loss," (co-authored with Gael Hannan) is the ultimate survival guide to living well with hearing loss. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, she will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      Thanks so much Cheri for all your support!

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