New Year resolutions are never really meant to last the whole year, let alone the rest of our life, are they? 

OK, maybe they are, but every year don’t we make the same list of “I am determined to do this” things – eat less, drink less, spend less, smile more, and just be an overall better person?

People with hearing loss (PWHL) are always thinking about what they should do – or other people should do – to make communication better. Losing 25 pounds by Valentine’s Day may be tough, but there are some achievable goals that will make hearing loss easier to live with.

But first we have to acknowledge what we’re up against. For us, hearing isn’t a passive thing. Hearing people can just sit there and the sound flows through their perfect ears, go on a roller coaster ride in the healthy, hairy cochlea, then zap up a pristine acoustic nerve to the brain which understands exactly what was said, often 100% – without even trying! 

Not us, the PWHL. Our hearing system is no easy ride for sound. Every day, we have to work through a long list of things, using a lot of energy, just to understand even 50, 75 or 90%!  

 

Explain our hearing loss to everyone we speak with

Tell (or remind) them what we need (speak up, slow down, lose the gum, etc)

Strain our necks, raise our eyebrows and do a constant swivel-head as we try to follow the conversation, hoping to land our eyes at exactly the right time on the face of the person who speaking

Finding a safe nano-second break in the conversation so we can actually say something without getting the humiliating …shh, Tom’s speaking.

Daily cleaning and drying routine to keep hearing aids clean and happy. Change wax guards. 

Ditto for cochlear implant speech processors

Request closed captioning on TV, movies, computers, etc.

 

Trust me, this is just a partial list of an ongoing process, which is not always easy and takes up a LOT of our time!  But, the good news – we can take control of our hearing loss This year, you might start with one of the big four:

 

I will admit that I have hearing loss and do something about it.

I will get hearing aids.

I will explore a cochlear implant.

I will seek help for tinnitus.

 

If you’ve already got those covered, how about one, or a few, of these resolutions.

I Will:

Keep my sense of humor about hearing loss. 

Develop a sense of humor about hearing loss (in case you don’t already have one to keep).

Be more patient with hearing people who forget my needs.

Find exceptional inner strength to be patient with my family and friends who shouldn’t forget my needs.

Reach out to a national hearing loss association to find out what they’re doing on our behalf with governments and businesses. 

Connect with other PWHL who might help with the neck-swiveling thing and other strategies.

Admit that my hearing health professional may just really know what he or she is talking about.

Explore how additional hearing assistive technology can help me.

Join online tinnitus forums to find out how other people cope.

Practice, practice, practice those sounds to help my cochlear implant work better.

Start using relaxation strategies – mindfulness, yoga, exercise, etc. – to help deal with the stress.

Not be ashamed of my hearing loss but accept it as a reality.

Take one hearing day at a time.

Be grateful for the people and technology and people who help me.

 

Well, that’s not a bad start, eh? Personally, I’m going to work on introducing mindfulness and yoga into my life. Starting next Monday. Good luck, everyone, and Happy New Year.

 

Gael Hannan, Better Hearing ConsumerNote from Gael Hannan: Starting this month, I will be posting every other week. In alternate weeks, the Better Hearing Consumer will feature articles from people with hearing loss around the world. If you are interested in submitting an article, please contact me at hannangd@gmail.com

8 Responses to Easy Hearing Loss Resolutions to Make and Take One Day at a Time

  1. Teresa E. says:

    @Peggy being brought in the mainstream will never be easy for a person who is hard of hearing. Been living it since I was a kid and I understand. Be nothing but PROUD for doing this on your own.
    @Gael Thank you sharing this great article.

  2. Peggy says:

    How embarrassing, my response is way too long now that I see it. Tried to find a way to delete it.

    • Gael Hannan says:

      It’s not embarrassing…if other people were to read it, they would be helped!

    • Gael Hannan says:

      Peggy, thank you for sharing. Would you contact me? I’d like to talk to you further. I’m unable to put my proper email here because email addresses won’t post but I’ll spell it out: hannangd at gmail dot com. Let’s see if that works!

  3. Peggy says:

    Thanks for this great post! You’ve done a great thing in explaining the challenges and encouraging us to take another step forward. Last January I woke up one morining with a clear thought out of the blue that I had to do something about my hearing loss. At that point I had no idea that there were even hearing loss support groups on Facebook. I am HOH from birth, but am just old enough that once the doctor made the pronouncement, bam, my parents never mentioned it again. Ever, except when trying to shush me when I was talking too loudly. I purchased my first ha’s on my own, in my twenties, and then abandoned wearing them years about a decade later when I couldn’t stand how large and ineffective they were. Eventually I would only use them when I travelled, mostly to convince the flight attendants that i needed help understanding the inflight messages that are always unintelligible!! My hearing loss is always with me, however, and the long business meetings and the hard to hear-in social situations that my job expects of me all led to constant stress, anxiety, and embarrassment on a regular basis. So I really don’t know what happened last year, but I started the journey. I was tired of always struggling to make the effort to try to hear and understand the world. I made a specialist appointment for the first time in 10 years, had the audiologist visit, purchased marvelously up to date digital hearing aids with a streamer and remote mic, learned how to sync and use my phone directly into my better ear. Took the first timid steps at a workshop to ask the main speaker to please use my clip on mic so I could hear him. Then during the summer, I continued to think about moving forward and putting aside the embarrassment I continued to feel when people noticed my hearing aids. I searched the internet and found a wonderful group with a class that specifically teaches hard of hearing people how to evaluate and share their hearing and listening needs. The support and sharing from that group, and from your posts on line have been transformative. In the online class I learned to practice small steps when I went to various meetings and events. I gained confidence. Your writing helped me realize that I have many friends to make through auoooet groups who truly understand and can sympathize and support me in the real life challenges of using hearing aids. I got a stylish and very short haircut and realized after a lifetime of tummy twisting shame that the world really didn’t stop spinning if someone mentioned seeing my hearing aids. I talked to the “corner dwellers, ” people at events that I realized were also having trouble hearing in noisy situations, and shared support & sympathy with them. I showed my immediate coworkers about how my new remote mic works and now happily and without fear pull it out and make sure it’s on the table placed strategically during every meeting possible. In September when I changed work sites, I included a few details about my hearing loss, my remote mic and streamer, and how best to get my attention in a power point that several groups viewed. I continue to participate in several online hearing loss groups and keep learning. I try to remember to share about this when I meet a new hearingloss friend, because maybe they are busy living their lives and don’t realize what a wealth of support is out there for them. Now when I have a tough day at work, like today, when one of my groups with 44 members met for 2 long hours and then had multiple breakout sessions all in the same room (unintelligible chaos/babble) I am a little easier on myself, but have a “listening buddy” there next to me who keeps me posted with key phrases, and gives a recap at the end—and I don’t use nearly as much negative self talk in the meantime. I am thankful beyond words that I followed the path that my feet took me towards last year at this time, and I want to thank you for all of your engaging articles and honest information about doing our best to meet the challenges of living with hearing loss. A huge weight has been lifted from me now that I no longer work hard to hide my hearing loss. THANK YOU, Gael, for being an important part of my “big year of change.”

  4. Cindy Yap says:

    I have been hearing loss when I discovers when I was newborn and I had all of this information. Anyway, my mom started to practice speech with me when I was like 3 years old. Then my parents process me to get cochlear implants when I was 14 years old. That time, the processor was on waiting list for 9 years then on June 21, 2009, I got cochlear implants. I discovers the sound is very nearby. I only can hear motorcycles, doorbells, people making comments at wedding, whisper voice and television sounds. I just like those sounds but I hate working sound, indoor sound and loud noise. That’s all. This is me as I have been experience this one.

  5. myrtle barrett says:

    a great article to begin the New Year . I will share this with my hard of hearing friends and my friends who are yet to admit they have hearing loss.

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