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

 

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

About Gael Hannan

Gael Hannan is a writer, speaker and advocate on hearing loss issues. In addition to her weekly blog for HearingHealthMatters.org, which has an international following, Gael wrote the acclaimed book "The Way I Hear It: A Life with Hearing Loss". She is regularly invited to present her uniquely humorous and insightful work to appreciative audiences around the world. Gael has received many awards for her work, which includes advocacy for a more inclusive society for people with hearing loss. She lives with her husband on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.

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Janine C

Hi. This is a nice post and informative and I can relate to it. But, as someone who has had sensoneurological hearing loss, some thing can NOT be done to help us. Every single time someone says to me “why don’t you get a hearing aid”, I reply “if you listen to a music CD and you don’t understand the words, will turning it up louder help you get every word?” NO!!! Hearing aids and cochlear implants are good for people who have hearing impairment NOT caused by auditory nerve failure. It’s not enough just to make something louder for… Read more »

Teresa E.

@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.

Gael Hannan

Teresa, thank you for your great words. Consider looking up my book The Way I Hear It: A Life with Hearing Loss

Peggy

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

Gael Hannan

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

Gael Hannan

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!

Peggy

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… Read more »

Cindy Yap

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… Read more »

myrtle barrett

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.