Things People with Hearing Loss Wish You Knew

Things People with Hearing Loss Wish You Knew

How Common Hearing Loss Is

Many factors can cause disabling hearing loss in people of all ages. Many people have no idea how common it is. It is estimated that 13% of the overall US population suffers from hearing loss to some degree. of course that percentage shifts according to age range and a number of more subtle factors including gender and profession, but one thing is clear, the technologies exist that no one should have to live with it.  

How Serious It Can Be Even When It Appears Mild / How People Hide It 

hearing loss prevention and treatment needs to be normalized. Part of why many people fail to understand how common it is is because many people learn to live with it. Living with it means hiding it from others, even if one does so unconsciously or innocently. But obviously it’s inconvenient and throws off the rhythms of communication to continuously ask people to repeat themselves. So instead one may learn to cobble together messages best they can. And this margin of error already illustrates how simply the cracks in one’s relationships may appear. and same principle as a pebble hitting your windshield, everyone knows how easily cracks amplify and the potential damage soon as they do. 

There are many potential signs you can recognize that someone you know is suffering from hearing loss. and They will seem obvious once they are brought to your attention. This person may never admit to you that they have a problem. They may never even admit to themselves that they have a problem. But once you recognize these clear signs, it is up to you to adjust your behavior in small ways to lessen the trauma they may be feeling. 

Is someone you love frequently asking you to repeat yourself? Do they especially have trouble understanding you when your head is turned away from them? Are you surprised by the volume at which they listen to music or watch TV? Take the initiative and respond with empathy.  

What Those with Hearing Loss Wish That Everyone Understood

Here are a few basic tips on how to adjust your behavior if you know or suspect that someone is having difficulty hearing. 

Focused attention makes a tremendous difference.
  • When interacting in a group, be certain to have the person’s attention. and Don’t all talk at once. 
  • Turn off the background music or TV. Turn off the fan. 
  • Choose the quietest nooks when out in loud public spaces. 
  • Hearing aids do not work like eyeglasses. Even when sounds are louder, the clarity may still be an issue when there is background noise. 
Be sure to face the person directly when you speak. 
  • The difference that lip-reading can make is so instantaneous and profound that many people may not even recognize how much they depend on lip-reading. 
Patience is key. 
  • It can be exhausting for those to suffer from hearing loss to interact with others. Filling in the blanks in other’s speech zaps their energy.
  • Understand that they are not being impolite and they are not suffering any cognitive or personality disfunction. 
  • It’s very simple. Be patient and kind or they may just find it more comfortable to be by themselves.  
  • Enunciate clearly. Articulate with intention. They just need an extra nano-second to piece together what you’re saying. 
Give Context
  • Use synonyms. Rephrasing your comments when you repeat them provides context.  
  • Context helps them piece together the puzzle. If all they make out is “far” it sure helps to know if you are discussing agriculture (farm) or distance (far). 
Create New Habits

As you can probably extrapolate, most of these align quite smoothly with common basic tips of decency. Now that you know these basic tips for recognizing and responding appropriately to those with hearing loss it should be quite simple to adjust your behavior accordingly. And really you have no good excuse not to do so. Adapting these basic practices will improve all of your interactions. You will discover a greater trust and intimacy in private with loved ones when you can share your thoughts and feelings with increased nuance and subtly.

Do not take it for granted that the world others are experiencing is identical to the world that you are experiencing. Be patient and open to loved ones and strangers alike and watch the world spring to life with clarity and understanding.