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!