“This is so unfair.”
“I cannot let them know that I am hard of hearing.”
These are only some of the thoughts that run through the mind of those with a hearing impairment. Hearing loss goes beyond being a physiological problem; it has a significant impact on a person’s mental and social well-being too. Various studies have reported a decrease in the quality of life for those with hearing problems, in addition to a deteriorating perception of oneself.
So, what can you do to not let this become an insurmountable obstacle in your life?
1. Seek medical treatment
Quite a few number of people avoid wearing hearing aids and going to the doctor’s to seek professional help. A lot of hearing loss cases are exacerbated because they are left ignored when they could have been avoided in the first place. Therefore, it cannot be stressed enough how important it is to pay heed to any symptoms of hearing loss. Furthermore, if you are in the middle of a treatment, listen and follow your otologist’s advice carefully. The success of the treatment not only relies on the doctor, but also on you. Hearing loss is both preventable and treatable, if not completely curable.
2. Let people know
Do not hide your condition from other people in fear of being judged. Concealment would only raise more problems for you and vice versa. Instead, let people know about your hearing loss and give them some suggestions of things they can do to better communicate with you.
3. Do not isolate yourself
Reach out to people who make you feel comfortable – friends, family, or loved ones. Due to the communication difficulties that come up as a result of hearing loss, many people are discouraged to participate in social interactions. This is a counterproductive step as isolation only increases feelings of dejection. Expressing yourself always helps, and therefore, communication is key.
4. Join a support group
Remember: you’re not alone. If you do not feel comfortable mingling with people or if you feel those with no hearing impairment do not understand your situation, turn to people who do. There are several support groups where people with hearing problems get a chance to interact with similar individuals. In addition, studies suggest that support groups prove to be beneficial for those with hearing problems. Some of these groups even exist online.
5. Be Brave
Accept your limitations. The sooner you acknowledge them, the faster you will cope with them. Having said that, do not let this constraint bog you down. Work towards a positive self-concept by benefiting from your strengths and not letting hearing loss define you.
While it is good to be independent, never shy away from asking for help. So the next time you cannot understand what someone is saying or continuously face trouble hearing sounds, do not hesitate to reach out to a doctor or an audiologist.