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Posted on Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Hearing Loss Support Groups

Family with hard of hearing members in woods, walking.

The internet is a wonderful thing, especially for people with hearing loss. It allows an ease of communication that is sometimes difficult in daily interactions with average hearing individuals. It also allows those who have experiences with hearing loss to interact and share their knowledge with others. Today, People Hearing Better is happy to repost an article by Paula Rosenthal that focuses on support groups and online resources for people with hearing loss. Paula knows a lot about hearing loss. Not only does she deal with her own hearing loss in her professions of writer, lawyer, and motivational speaker, but her husband and her daughter also have hearing loss. And as Paula says, if you don't think you need a support group, think again!

Support Groups for People with Hearing Loss--Why You Need It; How to Find It.
Paula RosenthalPaula RosenthalBy Paula Rosenthal
Do you or a family member have a hearing loss? Don’t think you need a support group? Think again! Whether you’re child, teen or an adult with hearing loss, or a parent raising a child with hearing issues, support groups can offer many benefits. Here are my top four reasons to join one.

1. You’re not alone – Due to the low incidence of hearing loss, children often find they are the only one in their school or neighborhood who is deaf or hard of hearing. The same goes for adults with hearing loss and as well as parents. Joining a group and attending meetings ensures that you have a community of peers who understand what you’re going through.

2. You need information or helpTechnology in the hearing industry advances quite rapidly. Support group members can share knowledge about devices they’ve tried and recommend professionals – audiologists, otolaryngologists, cochlear implant surgeons, speech pathologists, etc – that they’ve dealt with. Support groups provide an information base which can help you make important decisions.

3. Meet experts and attend workshops – Support groups often offer speakers, panels and programs on a wide range of hearing loss related topics. Over time, you will gain a wealth of knowledge without becoming overwhelmed. Listen to experiences and ask questions. Store the information away for the future. You never know when you may need it.

4. Make friends – Kids going through the teenage years can use a friend who really understands what it is like to have a hearing loss. The same can be said of adults and parents. People need friends for support at various times in their lives. Finding and developing these kinds of friendships will be easier in a support group setting.

Looking for a hearing loss support group in your area? Two top national organizations offer local chapters. Check out the state chapters available nationwide from the Hearing Loss Association of America online here. The Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing has chapters in 32 states. A complete list is availabe online here.

Online support groups can serve as friendship, support and networking sites for people who are unable to attend or unable to locate local programs. With more than 1,000 members each, I recommend Listen Up (for parents only), CI Hear (for pepole who have or are considering cochlear implants) and CI Circle (for parents of children with cochlear implants or those considering them for their child). Each of these groups can be joined by searching the Yahoo! Groups website here.

In New York, the Center for Hearing and Communication offers a cochlear implant support group bi-monthly. The Children’s Hearing Institute offers support groups for both parents and children dealing with hearing loss in various locations around the state.

Know of a good hearing loss support group near you? Please share it with our readers in the Comments section. Include the group’s name, location and contact information.

Paula Rosenthal, J.D. is married and has three children. Paula, her husband and daughter all have hearing loss. A law school graduate, Paula has published www.HearingExchange.com, an online blog and resource site for people with hearing loss, their families and professionals since 2000. She is also a syndicated writer and a public speaker on hearing loss, parenting and related issues. She and her daughter were featured on “Back to the Hearing World,” an informational DVD directed by Academy Award nominee® Josh Aronson, for Cochlear Americas. Her daughter recently won a video contest promoting Better Speech and Hearing Month sponsored by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. To contact Paula, send an email to her at hearingexchange@gmail.com.

© 2009 Paula Rosenthal and Taylor Rose, Inc. All rights reserved.

A sincere thank you to Paula for sharing her knowledge with our hearing loss community. Below are some additional links to online hearing loss support groups!

Additional Resources

SayWhatClub
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Association of Late Deafened Adults
My Baby's Hearing
Listen Up Web
Center for Hearing Loss Help
Speak Up Librarian

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