Posted on Friday, February 24, 2012

Communication and Hearing Loss

Couple Hugging demonstrating communicating with hearing loss

Hearing loss is often called the invisible disability. Not only because it's physically hidden, but because it hinders communication so that individuals suffering with hearing loss often go unnoticed or are dismissed. Trying to communicate with hearing loss can lead to difficulties with self-expression and a feeling of being outside a group or family activity. This is what happened to Donna Hughes, who like many people trying to communicate with hearing loss, had to overcome her own fears in order to reconnect with life.

Often the inability to communicate with hearing loss causes shame and a desire to shelter oneself from the stresses of group activities.

For many years Donna Hughes couldn’t hear the birds sing or the rain coming down outside. She didn’t realize ceiling fans made a whirling sound, and she had the television on the highest level whenever she watched. Like most people with hearing loss, communicating become extremely difficult. After many attempts to communicate without correcting her hearing loss, she became exhausted and withdrew into herself. She avoided conversations and going out because she couldn’t always understand all the words and didn't see the point of struggling with communication. The idea of buying hearing aids didn't enter her mind, because she was embarrassed to admit her problem. As she told People Hearing Better, “It used to make me feel so dumb.” This misguided sentiment is internalized by many people with hearing loss, and often leads them to avoidance that intensifies feelings of isolation and difficulties with communication.

Somehow, Donna found the courage to battle her own insecurities and went to see a hearing health professional.

After many years of sheltering herself from dealing with her hearing loss and the stresses of communicating with hearing loss, Donna began to realize she had cut herself off from the world. It became a habit for her to not open her mouth or attempt to address others when she left the house. She also found herself making excuses not to go out. Disturbed by this, she found the courage to stop the cycle of separation and rejoin the world. She visited a hearing health professiona and was amazed at the variety and capabilities of the latest hearing instruments.

Now that she has properly fitted hearing aids, Donna reports that she is happier and more self-confident. She is able to communicate better and has learned to adapt to her hearing loss. Here is her good news in her own words:

“Since I have gotten my hearing aids, I can now enjoy the beautiful sounds in this wonderful world of ours. Birds singing, children giggling, beautiful music, rain coming down, and the sound of waves breaking on the shore are just a few of the beautiful sounds I now enjoy. I don't have to have the television blaring and can enjoy conversations and actually understand what everyone is saying. I feel self-confident with communicating now, and I owe it all to my hearing aids. I thank the person every day that made hearing instruments possible, because it gives those of us with hearing impairment a new lease on life, a way to communicate despite hearing loss. Please take care of your hearing-it is a precious gift.”

Wise words from a woman who knows! Thank you for sharing your story Donna. And if you’re one of the many people with hearing loss that have stopped communicating and enjoying the things that once made you happy, it’s time to see a hearing health professional. As Donna said, hearing is a precious gift!

If you'd like to learn more about hearing loss, hearing heath, and hearing aids click HERE to DOWNLOAD our free guide to hearing health!

This guide will teach you:
▪ The 3 different types of hearing loss
▪ How to help a loved one hear you
▪ 8 different hearing aid styles
▪ Advances in digital and wireless hearing aid technology.


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