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Julie, Volunteer Mentor (@julieo4)

The Emotional Side of Hearing Loss

Hearing Loss | Last Active: Jun 26, 2022 | Replies (45)

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Through my hearing loss I have perfected the art of lip reading and during the Covid where everybody was wearing masks I often found it hard to understand what people were saying because I could not see their lips even watching television was frustrating as some programs that I watch and they were also wearing masks.
If I had a nickel for every time somebody said “are you deaf or what” I would be pretty well off at one point in my life just used to really hurt me and affect my self-esteem now I’ve learned to simply say yes I am and watch the people that have said this to me squirm and try to apologize their way out of it.

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Replies to "Through my hearing loss I have perfected the art of lip reading and during the Covid..."

Lip reading, which is often referred to as 'speech reading', is a learned coping system. It takes effort and determination. We don't realize how much we use this skill until it's taken away from us. COVID and masks took it away. If you've been isolated for a while, you have to start learning all over again with a lot of fatiguing concentration….but you will do fine if you think positive and work at it.

Attitudes of others can be insulting. In most instances, they don't realize what they say is intimidating and insulting. There is so much stigma surrounding hearing loss that has indoctrinated people for generations. 'Deaf' is different than 'hard of hearing'. Hard of hearing is a term people don't like. Jokes about elderly people who make errors in understanding are rampant. They are actually funny if you learn to laugh at yourself once in a while.

Deaf has been associated with the word 'dumb' for generations. Of course dumb, in that context meant 'unable to speak or communicate', not stupid. The acceptance of sign language (ASL) changed that for those who are culturally Deaf.

In today's world dumb has a very different meaning. To understand much about hearing loss, the typical degree that most of us with adult onset have, it helps to know a little about Deaf history. Also that few of us who lose hearing after learning spoken language will ever become a part of the culturally Deaf community. We are a whole different group that wants to hear, struggles to remain in the hearing mainstream, and embraces technology that can help us do that.

More than you need to know, but please do know there is a lot to learn about living well with hearing loss, and that there are groups that can help you learn more about advanced technology that can help with that.

Are you using captions on your TV? Do you use technology that goes beyond hearing aids?