How To Combat The Stigma of Hearing Loss

Stigma is defined as “a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person.” It often arises from external forces like prejudices, stereotypes or societal norms, but it can also come from inside ourselves — perhaps as we internalize the negative perceptions of others or suffer from a generalized fear of being different from the norm.

Stigma surrounding hearing loss can make us afraid to admit that we have trouble hearing. The shame and embarrassment of stigma drives us to behave in unproductive and unhealthy ways, like neglecting to ask friends and family to use communication best practices or refusing to seek out the professional assistance we need. It may lead us to avoid socializing or prevent us from applying for a deserved promotion. Over time, these behaviors can lead to isolation, depression, and a plethora of health problems.

We must nip hearing loss stigma in the bud. But how?

Living With Hearing Loss | A Hearing Loss Blog

Continue reading

Hearing Loss in the Workplace: Strategies for Success

Managing hearing loss in the workplace can be challenging. Hearing loss stigma may make you worried about disclosing your disability, and even if you do, others may not know the communications best practices required to help you hear your best. You may struggle in some work situations, but thrive in others, confusing your co-workers and clients. You company may not be aware of the many new technologies that can make communication easier for people with hearing loss. The good news is that there are many strategies for success, but much education is needed.

So, when Goldman Sachs’ Disability Interest Forum invited me to speak on a panel highlighting hearing health in the workplace at one of their four Disability Awareness Month events, I jumped at the chance! I was thrilled that a leading global firm like Goldman Sachs chose to prioritize hearing health in the workplace in such a public and impactful way.

Living With Hearing Loss | A Hearing Loss Blog Continue reading

A Patient Wish List For the First Audiologist Appointment

An audiologist is the first stop for most people on their hearing loss journey. The tone and content of that initial appointment are critical elements in setting us down the path for success in managing our hearing loss. In my recent post for Phonak Audiology Blog, I share my wish list for that first audiologist appointment. Please share your ideas in the comments. An excerpt is below. To read the full article click here. 

First Audiologist Appointment Can Be Scary

That first audiologist appointment can be an emotional experience for people at the start of their hearing loss journey. Finally admitting that you have a hearing loss and that you need to do something about it can be depressing, shrouded in stigma and downright scary. Combine this with needing to speak on the phone to make the appointment — a dreaded task for many people with hearing loss — and it is no wonder the average person with hearing loss waits 7-10 years to treat it!

Our trepidation continues as we arrive for the first appointment, but there is also hope. We wonder: Will the audiologist focus on the communication challenges that are most important to me? Will I leave with tools and skills that enhance my ability to live my life fully? Will I find a partner in my hearing care? Employ the tips in this article, and your patients will be answering yes to each of these questions.

Living With Hearing Loss | A Hearing Loss Blog

 

Continue reading

Communication Tips For People With Hearing Loss

Audiologists have a unique opportunity to aid patients navigate the challenging world of communicating with hearing loss. In my latest post for Ida Institute, I provide communication best practice tips that audiologists can share with their patients and their patients’ conversation partners. See an excerpt from the piece below. To read the full article click here

Communication Tips For Audiologists To Share With Patients

When I first started losing my hearing, conversations became more difficult. Whether it was at work, or socially with friends, I began to miss small details of the discussion, especially punch lines of jokes. Even when I began wearing hearing aids, these problems persisted, especially in noisy environments. Sometimes I would pretend to hear, other times I would ask for a repeat, but what I never did was ask my conversation partner to use communication best practices, because I didn’t know about them.

Simple things like keeping your mouth uncovered, or making sure to face the person when you are speaking seem obvious to me now, but early on in my hearing loss journey, they were not. When audiologists teach their patients how to have better conversations, with or without the use of hearing devices, they help patients stay connected with the important people in their lives, a primary goal of person-centered cared.

Living With Hearing Loss | A Hearing Loss Blog

Continue reading

What A Different Perspective Can Teach You About Hearing Loss

I approached the wall with trepidation. It was inversion week at my yoga teacher training. Inversions are postures that take your head below your heart. They include classic poses like downward facing dog and restorative poses like legs-up-the-wall pose (yes, you just lay there with your legs up the wall), but they also include rigorous poses like headstand and handstand. We were about to try handstand.

The teachers described the many benefits of these perspective shifting poses. There were health benefits like improved circulations, a boost in energy, and stronger core muscles, but also psychological benefits like increased confidence, and literally a change in perspective. Plus, they are fun. I was nervous, but eager to give it try, especially in this controlled environment with a lot of supervision.

Living With Hearing Loss | A Hearing Loss Blog

Continue reading