Don’t you just love those headlines that promise you the world?
5 Simple Tricks You Can Do TODAY to Revive Your Love Life!
10 Things You Didn’t Know About Celery—But Should!
3 Neat Ways to Pick the 5 People You’ll Meet Up There!
These are examples of a listicle—a combination of an article and a list which offers advice to help you solve a problem, make you a better person, or make you prettier, smarter, richer or all three at one go. Writers like listicles because using bullet points means less grammar and punctuation to worry about. Readers like them because it’s about their problem, getting to the point without a lot of yah-de-ya-da (which is what you’re reading right now).
The internet is bursting with hearing loss articles; this is wonderful because there are a lot of people with hearing problems looking for answers. But no single article answers every question or solves every (or any) problem—this one certainly doesn’t! You have to read a lot and do your research to find advice that adds up to a plan that ultimately works for you. But it’s important, whether a person has had hearing loss for years or just a few months, to understand the Big Picture, the reality of what to expect in the hearing loss life—its emotions, barriers and solutions. This Big Picture illustrates a journey of steps that give us the knowledge and strength to achieve better communication, a better quality of life.
The journey involves a great deal of inner debate (with ourselves) and outer questions and comments (with our hearing health professionals and our communication partners). The following 20 questions, 5 steps, and 1 bonus question-step is a simple blueprint for the process. There is no set timeline (or even a beginning and an ending), because some people adjust to hearing loss like a duck to water, while for others—most of us, actually—it’s a much longer process. And there’s no money-back guarantee of success, but I can tell you that, in a lifetime of hearing loss, one of my biggest AHA moments was that by taking personal responsibility for our communication success—and that includes asking for help— life gets better. Not perfect, but better.
The Inner Conversation
The Steps to Success
Am I struggling to hear?
Could my family possibly be right?
Maybe I can just get by?
Well, hiding my hearing loss isn’t working, is it?
I admit it: I may have hearing loss.
(You just took the most difficult step – well done!)
Should I wait to see if it gets better?
Maybe it’s time to do something?
Who do I talk to?
Don’t they all just want to sell me something?
Get professional help
Hearing assessment and recommendations.
Do I really need a hearing aid?!
I’ll get back to you on that, say in a year or so?
OK, I’m back. Do I have a say in my own treatment?
What questions do I ask the hearing professional?
What else should I know about MY hearing loss?
Use technology and other strategies
Team up with your service provider to choose appropriate hearing technology. Discuss strategies (captioning/telecoil, loops/environmental manipulation, etc.).
OK, I’ve got a hearing aid, what makes it work better?
Can’t people tell by my hearing aid or cochlear implant that they need to speak up and face me?
Why can’t (my spouse, children/friends/coworkers) remember what I told them to do?
Communicate your needs to people
This part goes on forever, but the sooner you accept it, and learn how to do it, the better.
How do other people live with this?
What resources are available in my area?
How do I explain tinnitus to people who don’t have it?
How can I help my family deal with our mutual communication issue?
Ask for support from peers and family
Consumer groups, social media, speechreading classes, family discussion
WHAT ELSE DO I NEED TO KNOW?
The Important Rah-Rah Stuff
Practice, don’t give up.
You have the same right to inclusion as anyone else – believe it!
Technology isn’t perfect yet, but they’re workin’ on it!
Be an advocate: promote accessibility for all people with hearing loss.
Decide if good communication is important to you, then pursue it!