“Can you hear that?” he asked.
“No,” I said.
“How can you not hear that? It sounds like…” he replied.
Have you ever been a part of a conversation like that? It can be very frustrating.
Hearing loss is called an “invisible” condition because others can’t tell we have it except by our behavior, the way we communicate or our reactions.
Many people with mild to moderate hearing loss won’t accept the fact that they have it. According to the Hearing Loss Association of America 80% of people who could benefit from hearing devices, don’t get them. Some people seem to think there’s some sort of bad stigma associated with hearing loss.
Hearing loss is a disability. It’s a loss of one of our primary senses. Like “sight loss”, (better known as blindness), yet hearing-loss is not considered a real “disability”.
There are various degrees of hearing loss from a mild loss like people have that keep asking “what did you say?” to a profound loss and deafness.
Having a profound hearing loss myself, I know exactly how people react to someone who can’t hear. (Especially after working 10 years in a bank and as a Commercial Loan Officer.)
So here’s a News Flash! Hearing loss doesn’t make us “stupid”, so don’t treat us that way. And please don’t get irritated when we ask you to repeat something. (I’ve never really understood why some people get so mad when they have to repeat something. Is it because the person speaking can’t remember what they just said?)
Having a profound hearing loss, and being the Creativoholic that I am, I have set out to find creative ways to help remove the “stigma” associated with hearing loss. And how to deal with the problems we face, like tinnitus, the high (outlandish) cost of hearing devices and hearing health care.
I don’t know how I’m going to do it yet. But writing about it may help. Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one dealing with these issues. Does anybody else feel the same way? What issues do you face? How or what could help improve your quality of life?
P.S. I am fortunate that I can hear because I have a Bone Anchored Hearing Device. (Yes, that means a device that’s connected directly to my skull. And it’s awesome! But also, sometimes painful.)