Deafness and hearing difficulties are one of the most common forms of disability. They can be there from birth, a result of illness or injury, and often they come as a natural part of aging. Regardless of how it begins, however, finding ways to cope with it is essential to have a better quality of life. So, we’re going to look at some of the challenges facing people with hearing difficulties and how to live with it, not against it.
Understanding and communicating
Communication is obviously going be one of the biggest barriers you face when you develop hearing problems. Depending on the kind of difficulties experienced, hearing aids and implants might be able to immediately solve some of those issues. But there are also sign language classes offered by many different places and groups, including community colleges and libraries. There might also be classes for lip-reading near you. But part of ensuring better communication is also talking about it with the people close to you, such as family and co-workers. Many people have habits such as speaking quickly or speaking while turning away from you that they might not be fully aware of but can obviously make it much harder for you to understand them. Don’t be afraid to make them aware of these habits and remind them until it becomes second nature for them.
Enjoying what you once did
Hearing assistive devices can help many get the same enjoyment from music and movies as they once did. However, it might be that you have to find new ways to enjoy old hobbies. For instance, most TVs and online streaming services come with captions, but many cinemas are starting to offer captions too, through portable devices provided at the venue. It can also be fulfilling to find new hobbies that allow you to work around the barriers your hearing difficulties present.
Getting emotional support
Going through any major change, especially a disability, can be an emotionally difficult and traumatic time for anyone. Even if you find yourself coping well with the change, butting heads with barriers and being misunderstood more often than usual can be frustrating for anyone. It’s important to know that it’s okay to grieve a loss that has as big an impact as having difficulty with one of your sense. At the same time, grief should be worked through. See if there aren’t support groups in your area or other people with hearing difficulties to get to know. They might be worth getting in contact with when it comes to dealing with the emotional and mental impact that developing hearing difficulties can cause. Practicing self-care, such as learning meditation, starting a journal, and finding new hobbies can also be a way to work out some of the stress and fears that often come with these transitions.
All of the advice above, of course, is dependent on what kind of hearing difficulties you or your loved one has, as well as what is recommended by your doctor. There are a lot of resources out there, it’s worth taking a look at what’s on offer and see if anyone else can help point you in the direction you should start going.