That Inner Hearing Loss Chat!

“I couldn’t hear my friends very well during that talk – I should have told them I was struggling. But I hate interrupting the convo-flow all the time. They’re usually so good about making sure I’m hearing OK, so I don’t want to bug them with everything I miss. Why do I always do that to myself?”

Does this sound familiar? The constant, stressful self-chatter in your head when the real-life chatter is difficult?

You’re not alone. That’s what all people do – we keep these thoughts in our heads, rather than translating them into actionable words that could fix the problem. And while we’re focused on the negative stuff bouncing off the inner walls of our skulls, we’re missing more of what’s being said!

One of the hardest yet most valuable hearing loss lesson we can learn is this: to let other people know what we need, expressed in a way that works for both them and us. It takes guts. And it takes practice. But without effective self-advocacy, conversations and listening situations will continue to spin out of control.

Maybe these thoughts will help you through that next hearing loss chat with yourself.

  • Just because I don’t hear well, doesn’t mean I should be sidelined from conversations. I deserve to participate. 
  • Instead of being angry that other people just don’t get it, I need to remember with compassion that how can they? They are hearing people!  They don’t hear the way I hear – which is sometimes I get it and sometimes I miss it. And the why of that is not always apparent. They may see the impact of my hearing loss, but they can’t understand how that plays out, comment by comment, in real time conversation. I understand the deep-down, organic reality of my hearing loss in a way that nobody else can. 
  • I must take the lead on fixing this. I can’t expect others to (always) anticipate my needs in every situation. Too noisy, too dark, too many people? I can change that (even if it means leaving). Do I have remote technology that will bring voices directly into my ears?
  • If my requests for accommodation, including the way other people speak to me, aren’t successful – can I express them differently?
  • What else do I need to tell myself – often over and over again? Oh yes…my voice is not only important, but the people in my life want to know what I thinkg and how I feel!

The important thing is to keep talking to ourselves – and work on changing the conversation to a more positive and productive one. Hearing loss  is, for most of us, a lifelong thing. Yes, we get to keep it forever and ever, amen. But it’s a journey that can become easier and more successful if we keep the lines of communication open!




About Gael Hannan

The Better HearingConsumer addresses the personal experience of living with hearing loss. Editor Gael Hannan and her occasional guest bloggers explore every corner of the hearing loss life with humor and poignancy. Comment Policy   Gael Hannan, Editor Gael Hannan is an author, speaker and advocate on hearing loss issues. In addition to her weekly blog at the Better Hearing Consumer, which has a passionate international following,Gael has written two acclaimed books, “The Way I Hear It: A Life with Hearing Loss”and “Hear & Beyond: Live Skillfully with Hearing Loss”, written with Shari Eberts. 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 that advocates for individuals to become more knowledgeable and successful at dealing with their hearing loss and a more inclusive society for them to live in. She lives with her husband on Vancouver Island, Canada. Books and other media Hear & Beyond: Live Skillfully with Hearing Loss. Written with Shari Eberts and available anywhere books are sold. The Way I Hear It: A Life With Hearing Loss. Available through online bookstores. Unheard Voices, DVD, vignettes from the hearing loss life. Contact Gael Hannan to order.

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