Wait, did you get that right? Favorite things about living with hearing loss?
There are positives and negatives to almost anything—including hearing loss. A recent post highlighted the downsides, but today we will look at the silver linings.
The Silver Linings of Hearing Loss
Please add your pluses and minuses in the comments.
Developing self-advocacy skills
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger! Learning to advocate for my needs has boosted my confidence and given me the resilience to take on any challenge. It was not an easy road, but helped my hearing loss peers, I am now an advocate, not only for myself, but for the entire hearing loss community. I love being a part of this important work.
Increased empathy for others
People sometimes tell me that they would never know I had hearing loss if I didn’t tell them. Part of me is pleased but another part wishes they could see how hard I am working below the serene exterior. Hearing loss is invisible and so are many other disabilities. Just because we cannot see someone struggling doesn’t mean it is smooth sailing beneath the surface. Hearing loss helped me develop deeper empathy for others, especially for those who seem to be doing just fine.
Tuning out sound (occasionally)
Maybe this wouldn’t apply if my hearing were typical, but the ability to turn off the cacophony of modern society can be a joy. While its not always completely silent due to my tinnitus, removing my devices can provide a welcome relief from the sometimes exhaustingly active soundscape.
Deep communication skills
People with hearing loss use a multi-pronged approach to communication. It’s not just what we hear—depending on the degree of loss we may miss part or all of the spoken language others throw our way. We must combine the bit we do understand with non-verbal and context clues to draw out meaning. We are astute at reading body language and facial expressions to glean emotions since we may not correctly identify vocal inflection. Managers take note: strong communication skills are just as useful in the workplace as they are in our personal lives.
Communication is not something people with hearing loss can do on the fly while engaging in some other pursuit. Listening is the activity. This required concentration makes us deep and compassionate friends. When you tell us about your day, we will maintain eye contact (we need to see you to hear you) and concentrate on your words. No doom-scrolling on our phones when you talk to us. Now if only our communication partners would return the favor.
Being a part of the hearing loss community
As Holly Cohen says in our hearing loss documentary We Hear You, “The gift of hearing loss is meeting others I would not otherwise have met.” I agree. My hearing loss friends give me strength when I am feeling down and inspire me with their advocacy successes. They have taught me resilience, and joy, and a lot about living well with hearing loss. I am grateful for each and every one of you.
Readers, what are your favorite things about your hearing loss?