It’s EASY to convince ourselves that we’re doing ‘fine’ with our hearing loss:
That we’re catching most of what’s said,
Well, at least the important stuff – the rest’s not really worth listening to
And no, we don’t intend to do anything about it
Like getting a hearing aid or cochlear implant –
Those are for other people, who have real problems.
It’s EASY to give in to frustration and the emotional roller coaster of hearing loss:
Because nothing has ever prepared us for this –
This…invisible separation…from the life we’re used to,
And the people we were close to.
It’s like standing outside, looking through a window
Rapping on the glass and trying to talk to our family on the inside.
It’s EASY to slip into bad habits of bluffing, of tuning out:
Because we just can’t get what’s being said,
Even though we’re trying so hard to follow.
It makes us tired
And before we even realize it,
We’re nodding and smiling as if we’re totally in the conversation
And we hope no one calls us on it.
Because we would be embarrassed – and they would be irritated.
It’s EASY to blame other people for communication breakdowns:
“They won’t face me,
They forget all the time,
They just…they just don’t understand.
Even though I’ve explained it
Over and over again.
I’ve done all I can and now it’s up to them.
Hell, I’m the one with the damn hearing loss!
How about a little consideration?”
It’s EASY to blame our hearing loss for everything that’s not going right:
“My marriage would be better if it wasn’t for my hearing
My kids wouldn’t laugh or take advantage of me
I would be happier at work,
I’d feel better about myself
And I could focus my energy on making things better
Instead of using it all up
On trying to communicate,
Or even hiding it completely
And don’t tell me that’s wrong, that I shouldn’t do it –
I’d like to see you struggling every day, all day,
With hearing loss like mine.”
It’s EASY to let hearing loss define us:
Life was better before.
Now it’s not.
My hearing loss affects everything,
Everything I do, everyone I talk to.
I am my hearing loss.
No one ever said that having hearing loss is easy. But it doesn’t always have to be this hard, either.
We all have bad hearing days when we want to crawl into bed and pull the covers over our head. But if we stay in hiding, if we keep crying, our negative attitudes may harden into cement, making it difficult to break free.
There’s another “easy” lesson if we want to take it. Help is available, standing by, waiting. Reach out. This may not be the easiest, but it might be the best lesson for living with hearing loss.
(Adapted from The Easy Lessons of Hearing Loss, the Better Hearing Consumer, 2013.)