A HoH’s Gospel

As a person living with hearing loss, and as an advocate who has dedicated an enormous percentage of my waking hours to its issues – there are a few things that I have come to believe, passionately.

These form my credo, Latin for ‘I believe’. This gospel, which for me is absolutely true, gives me strength to survive the bad communication moments when I otherwise be sidelined and clueless unless I did something to change that moment. They inspire me to take control of my hearing loss, because no one knows better than me what I need and what needs to be done to make that conversation work.

From time to time, I like to look over my statements to see if anything has changed from when these aha moments first started exploding in my head. (The process took years; there were no resources floating around that helped me make these attitudinal shifts from victim, from vague thoughts to solid realizations.)  

Usually, when I review my Gospel According to Gael, I look at it and say, “Yup, that’s pretty much everything I believe. Yay me. Good to go for another year.”

This year, however, I’ve made some enhancements to my personal philosophies. I’ve just come through a two-year, book-writing process with Shari Eberts, and it has been an amazing stretch of road in my hearing loss journey. I learned a few new things that are now embedded in my credo.

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I BELIEVE THAT:

I deserve to hear and to be heard.

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, but it is imprinted on my mind and actions.

Living with hearing loss, while challenging, is not the greatest challenge I will face as a human being.

My ultimate goal is not to hear better, but to communicate better, using 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.

Bluffing is counterproductive. By being honest about my hearing loss and articulating my needs, assertively and without judgement, my communication improves.

I benefit from professional hearing care. I will work with providers who make me feel comfortable and are my partners in finding solutions that meet my whole-life 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 humour in awkward hearing moments—but it helps.

Adopting better health practices improves my ability to live better with my communication challenges

Hearing is precious and, to the best of my ability I will protect my residual hearing from further damage.

Technology is my friend.

My hearing loss affects everyone in my communication orbit—my family, friends, acquaintances, and any random person I engage in conversation. My hearing loss presents challenges for them, and I must honour their efforts to make our communication successful.

I am in charge of my communication success.

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This is my hearing loss gospel, my mantras. I’ve learned that when I ignore or forget them (which I do more frequently than I would like), it doesn’t end well. But in acknowledging and practicing what I believe to be true, my communication sparks more consistently and is more satisfying.

 

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.

5 Comments

  1. This the Gospel for All with Hearing Loss Gael.
    Love the accurate points given which I also live by.
    Never, ever giving up to do all these points daily and ongoing is being optimistic no matter what others say or think.
    I will always among all your presentations I have seen and enjoyed…Bluffing your way through life hurts every person with a hearing loss and everyone they love. Hugs and kisses.

  2. Thank you so much for these inspiring words. Always enjoy your articles. I have been rejected so many times that I began trying to hide my loss of understanding. This has, of course, caused more communication understanding. My therapist said to “put it out there, don’t hide”. I gave it a try. Most on my Facebook are old friends or acquaintances that do not really now my hearing loss. I casually mentioned it. I either had those who ignored or some dropped off. Oh well, I was going to try and reconnect this summer but now I’ll go we’re I want for vacation.

  3. Thank you sharing for your credo. It is all so true. This credo applies to every area of life not just hearing issues. We all need to be respectful of others. We all have limitations, some are more obvious than others.

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