Living with hearing loss is a challenge, but there are a few things about it that are easy.
It’s EASY to convince ourselves that we’re doing ‘fine’ with our hearing loss:
We’re catching most of what’s said,
The important stuff anyway.
We don’t need a hearing aid or cochlear implant –
Those are for other people with real problems.
It’s EASY to ride the emotional roller coaster of hearing loss:
Because nothing has prepared us for the
Invisible separation…from the life we’re used to
and the people we’re 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 can’t get what’s being said,
Even though we’re trying so hard to follow.
It makes us tired
And before we realize it,
We’re nodding and smiling as if we’re in the conversation
Hoping no one calls us on it.
We’d be embarrassed – and they’d be irritated.
It’s EASY to blame other people for communication breakdowns:
“They won’t face me,
They just don’t understand.
Even though I’ve explained it
Over and over again.
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.
But we are not our hearing loss. We may have it, but it doesn’t have us. While no one ever said that having hearing loss is easy, it doesn’t always have to be this hard, either.
We all have bad hearing days (or weeks or months) when we want to stay in bed, covers over our head, blocking out the communication gone wrong. But if we stay in hiding, if we keep crying, our negative attitudes harden into cement, making it difficult to break free.
There’s another lesson about hearing loss, perhaps the best one: Reach out for help. It’s available, standing by, waiting. From your hearing healthcare professional and other people with hearing loss. They understand what’s hard and what’s easier about the hearing loss life.