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?