When I was young and went to church more regularly than I do now, I thought the Credo was a nice poem that we recited to express what we were supposed to believe as Canadian Presbyterians. This Credo was especially helpful, because if you weren’t sure of what you believed, or forgot a detail, you could look it up at the back of the hymn book.
In my last two years of high school I studied Latin, which helped to cement my love of language, as well as raise my grade average (I was good at it). Even now, that short course of Latin study helps me recognize the Latin roots of many common English words. For example, ‘pulchritude’, a synonym for loveliness that I’m sure we all use every day, comes from the Latin adjective pulcher (pronounced puhl-ker) which means ‘beautiful’. (Don’t say you never learn anything in this blog!)
I also learned that credo is an actual Latin word that simply means ‘I believe’, although today it’s used to describe ‘a statement of the beliefs or aims that guide someone’s actions’.
Here is my Credo as a HoH, a person with hearing loss. It’s a work in progress and I invite you suggest other points to add to the list.
I BELIEVE THAT:
Having hearing loss is just one aspect of who I am. It does not define me as a person or confine me to a group.
Living with hearing loss, while challenging, is not the greatest challenge I will face as a human being.
My most important goal is not to hear better, but to communicate better. I must learn to listen with all of my gifts – my ears, my eyes, my heart and my mind.
By accepting my hearing loss, I am breaking down personal barriers.
By advocating for others with hearing loss, I am helping to break down public and societal barriers.
By being honest about my hearing loss and articulating my communication needs, I become a better communicator.
I need professional help from a hearing health care provider who makes me feel comfortable and who works hard to find solutions that meet my needs.
By connecting with others who have hearing loss, I am stepping into a circle of invisible and unbreakable supports.
The person whose insults and impatience have the most power to hurt me is me. I am just one in a world of many. We all have burdens that may not be understood but should be respected.
It’s not always easy to see the humor in awkward hearing moments—but it helps.
I must respect the hearing that I have and protect it from further damage due to noise.
Hearing loss affects us all—me, my family, my friends. I recognize that my hearing loss presents challenges for them, and I must honour and celebrate their efforts to make our communication successful.
So that’s my HoH’s Credo. It’s what I believe, expanding on my longtime guiding principles of communication: to be honest about my hearing loss, to be knowledgeable about it, and to communicate my needs to others. Many people with hearing loss have developed similar guidelines, including Pat Dobbs’s beautifully articulated principles in her Hearing Loss Revolution. Feel free to create your own mantra, adopting the bits you like from other lists, to guide you through this life with hearing loss.
But, truthfully? I admit that my Credo doesn’t always guide my actions in a particular moment. Just as I can’t say that I don’t occasionally covet, get cranky, think unkind thoughts, or any of the other “good person” attributes. I also sometimes forget to take the high road when communication goes bad. But in acknowledging what I believe to be true, the dark moments of hearing loss pass quickly and I live in hope that the next time will be easier.