World of Silence: Living With a Hearing Disability
Parties May Not Be Fun For Those With Hearing Loss
The party had begun and all the guests and the guest of honor had arrived. The chatting, laughter and socializing began after the meal was served. Everyone was laughing and joking having a marvelous time, all but me. I sat pretty much alone in a corner, just waiting for the party to be over.
You see, I am one of the hearing disabled. It can be a struggle for me to carry on a conversation with all the background noise. I live in a word where communication can be very hard at times and normal socializing is tough.
Millions of People Live in Our World of Silence
I am not alone in that world of silence. Millions of others live in that same world. For some, hearing aids do help, while others like me suffer from severe hearing loss. Not deaf but when in a noisy situation or lots of background noise, it can very hard to hear and participate in conversations. Many of us with hearing disabilities find ourselves feeling like we are isolated and not included which tends to make us withdraw from people and conversations. We miss out on jokes and stories that everyone else can hear, understand and laugh about.
Disadvantages for Those With Hearing Disabilities
- Phone calls can be extremely difficult especially when speaking with someone with a heavy accent. I now own a phone that can put the words on a screen for me to read. These are calling caption phones.
- Social events can be so stressful for those of us with hearing disabilities. I personally dislike social gatherings for various reasons but this is the top reason. I tend to try to avoid all the events that I can.
- Jobs can be hard to find that can accommodate someone with a hearing disability. When I was younger I was a waitress. Hearing is essential for many jobs of that nature. Office jobs generally require phone interactions which as mentioned can be difficult.
- Relationships with many people can be distressing. A hearing disability is not a noticeable disability so others tend to not realize that much of the conversation is being missed or misunderstood.
- Movies, plays, television, and some other forms of entertainment can be hard for the person suffering from hearing loss.
Hearing Aids Can Help
Hearing aids can certainly improve the life of a person with a hearing disability. And hearing aids have made major improvements over the years and I am sure it will continue to improve. But in my own experience, they do help me to hear when there is little to no background noise. Put me in a noisy situation and they do little to help me. I also find them to be too loud in certain situations. If there are loud noises such as a dog barking, crowds in small places or sirens they actually hurt my ears and cause me more hearing loss.
What Can You do to Help a Person With a Hearing Disability?
- Always talk to them in the same room. Don’t expect to be heard from a room with a wall between you and the other person. When people do this it is extremely frustrating for the person with the hearing disability.
- Don’t turn your back or face away from that person. Face them when you are speaking. Some who suffer from hearing loss can read lips.
- Show respect and do not make snide comments. You may be the one in the future with a hearing disability.
- Talk slowly and clearly without shouting.
- Write things down for the disabled person to read.
- When possible and if necessary use sign language and pictures.
Different Aids for Those With Hearing Loss
- There are clocks that will shake a person’s bed to wake them.
- Captioned telephones are available which connect to the internet and displays the speaker’s words on a screen for the hearing disabled person. I have one of these phones and I use it every time I have to call a utility company and have to talk to that person with a heavy foreign accent.
- Phones that allow us to text and read instead of having to hear the other caller’s voice.
- Closed caption television. Without closed captions most of the time I miss so much of the movie or show that I wouldn’t bother watching without the captioning.
- Headphones are a great assistance with television or music. I have a wireless set of headphones that allows me to set the volume to where I can hear without driving everyone else crazy with the high volume.
- Hearing aids is probably the number one aid for people with hearing loss. This is probably the first thing a person with hearing disability will get. But hearing aids do not help in every situation.
Struggling With a Hearing Disability
Be Understanding of Those With Hearing Disability
Hearing loss can happen over time as we get older or a person can be born with hearing loss or totally deaf. It is not an easy disability to deal with but can be manageable. But it can affect a person’s life in many negative ways. Because a hearing disability is not a visible disability it can be hard for spouses and family members to be understanding. I have so often been told I just wasn’t listening or those awful words that a person with a hearing disability hates “oh never mind”. Let’s all try to be more understanding of those with this invisible disability.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
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© 2019 L.M. Hosler