Listen Up, Year #2022

Dear New Year #2022,

Hey there! We are the people with hearing loss and tinnitus.

You must be excited that it’s your turn to roll out the next 365 days of our lives. But we don’t know what to expect from you! Remember Glinda the Good Witch in the Wizard of Oz? She asked Dorothy, “Are you a good witch, or a bad witch?” Likewise, we’re asking if you’re going to be a good year or a bad year? Probably a mixed bag, as usual, and I guess it depends on who’s doing the asking, right?

We don’t really expect an answer. Instead, we are telling you how we intend to see it play out.

Like we said, we have hearing loss, tinnitus or both – and the last couple of years have been tough for us. Yeah, yeah, we know it’s been tough for darn near everybody, but on top of all the other health and social problems, we have the added anguish that when those masks go on, it’s like the curtain coming down on good communication. We can no longer lipread, and struggle to understand muffled speech coming from masked speakers who are several feet away behind plexiglass shields.    

But many of us have other hearing-related issues and here’s what we intend to do about them in 2022, your year!

  • If we haven’t yet done anything about a suspected hearing loss, we’re going to step up and get tested.
  • If we don’t know much about hearing loss in general and our own in particular, we’re going to do some research that goes beyond FaceBook comments. We’re going to start with reading – articles and books (I have recommendations).
  • If we have tinnitus, we’re going to keep looking for ways to diffuse the agony that drives many people to the edge – the absolute edge. We’re going to start with stress reduction that includes deep breathing and mindfulness.
  • If our family has a different concept of our hearing loss than we do, we’re all going to sit down for a civil, informative and long overdue discussion.
  • We’re making effective communication a top health priority this year.
  • We will load free speech-to-text apps on our phone – and the link will be on the home page so that there’s no fumbling to find the app when we need it quickly. (It was one of our go-to struggles last year, but in 2022 – we’ve got this!)
  • If we have never advocated on behalf of people with hearing loss and tinnitus, it starts today.
  • We will adopt as much technology into our lives as we can afford – or that governments and businesses can afford for us.
  • We are going to embrace an attitude of gratitude for all the good stuff that’s available to us.
  • And finally? We’re going to share these intentions with other people who need them.

Again, #2022, we aren’t asking you for these things, but we would appreciate your understanding of our issues. We just need you to do your part and give us a boost. Please, be better than #2020 and #2021. And help us be better.

Enjoy your year, #2022!

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. Truly enjoy your writing style and you provide a lot of great information. I have lived with hearing loss for many years. I am an advocate for Telecoils and Hearing Loops. I have had a Telecoil forever. Finding Hearing Loops is the challenge. If I go to the mall, ask 1000 people if they have heard of hearing aids. YES. Have you heard of Telecoils, Hearing Loops, HLAA. NO, NO, NO. Hearing Loops are the ONE thing that can and does improve my lifestyle. Everywhere I go there is handicapped parking and curb cuts so that I can access a venue. It doesn’t matter if it is church, a performing arts center, or a fast food restaurant. I can get in but I can’t hear well when I am in. So I don’t go! I would love to see you write more about Telecoils and Hearing Loops!

    1. thanks Ronald! I do write about telecoils and loops frequently…and I will continue to do so! I posted recently about my trip to Eugene for a celebration of hearing loss.

  2. Educating the public, including our families is long overdue. I have spoken to friends and acquaintances about the struggles with hearing loss, but usually, it is like they have hearing loss as well. What is needed, and may be out there, are brochure style publications that deal with hearing loss informing others of the problem and how to help those of us who do suffer with the problem. Businesses could use them to educate their employees on how to communicate with the hearing impaired, especially the people staffing the checkout counters.

  3. When hearing impaired (especially at a young age), whether it is from loud music or being in a noisy environment (a soldier in NOISY AREA for years),
    Does the hearing continue to deteriorate even after you stop being in a noisy environment? Or if noise stops also stops a continuous decrease?
    Is there a difference, regarding the continued deterioration in hearing, between acoustic damage resulting from a sudden noise (explosion for example) and which has not disappeared,
    And permanent acoustic sabotage after several years of exposure to noise and the hearing deterioration continues though slowly?

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