The Emotional Side of Hearing Loss

Posted by Julie, Volunteer Mentor @julieo4, Jun 13, 2022

Often those of us who experience hearing loss, especially that of adult onset, feel that no one understands what we are going through. It can affect our self esteem, along with decisions we make about our social lives, and even our work lives.

There is a new Facebook discussion group that addresses this subject. Having followed it the past few days, I realize how many people need to know they are not alone in dealing with this invisible disability. It's also obvious that many find general conversation about the emotional side of HL helpful. Sometimes we just need to talk.

If you're willing to share: How does hearing loss affect you emotionally?

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Hearing Loss Support Group.

@lizzy102

Interesting discussion, thanks!
I have struggled with the question, “What do I call myself?” over the years as my hearing/speech understanding decreased. At first I referred to myself as HoH, worked fine. I’d start conversations in school or at work with “I’m hard of hearing, it is an invisible disability. I may need to ask you to slow your speaking down and enunciate more clearly as well as ask you to look at me so that I can speech read.” Then, my hearing got worse. My audiologist said I wasn’t yet capital D Deaf but could say Hard of Hearing/deaf. So, I did that for a few years, advocating more and more strongly for myself (and faking it when people just would not slow down. Now, I am small d deaf. Without my HA and CI, I am profoundly deaf. Because I am not a member of the D-Deaf community, don’t sign and was deafened later in my life I am a little d deaf.
It is so exhausting. I am so grateful for my Cochlear Implant though, I wear out when in stressful hearing situations (airports) but it is nothing like it was when I had only my HAs. My Nadia wonders kept me afloat until they didn’t and I’ll always be grateful for my wonderful audiologist and her encouragement to go up the scale to better HAs when necessary.
I really like reading about others emotional well being. We’re pretty lucky to have this forum.

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I'm a little over 6 months in – right ear implanted. Your comment about wearing out in stressful situations rang a bell. I notice I do the same thing. I was planning on going to Great Granddaughter's volleyball game today at the Convention Center (9 to 2 or later) and my granddaughter suggested that I might not want to go as the noise is so over powering that it is getting to everyone with even normal hearing. If I went they would all be concerned about me, so they will text me the ongoing game results.
When I was first activated (first week) I went to one in a quieter location and was overwhelmed by the noise towards the end of the matches, so much that I didn't hear the warning that a ball was headed in my directions and I got hit in the head. This panicked my tribe (I was ok). They are great at making sure I get to noisy situations but also aware of limitations as my brain 'learns'.

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Julie, wow! Are you ever loved! So glad your CI is working out. The brain learning part is wonderful, challenging and tiring. Are you using Angle Sounds app? It’s wonderful – their speech in noise training is great.
When I first wake up and put on my processor, things are SO LOUD!!!! Sometimes I stay quietly in the bedroom so I have time to adjust before speech starts coming my way!

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I used to give this to my clients and their allies. In the non-professional world, this handout is super for helping friends and family. Feel free to adapt/use.

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@lizzy102

Thanks, Julie! Great history lesson for us all. Big thing is, if you want to communicate (requires back and forth of some form of ‘speech’ (ASL being one and voice another) you must advocate for yourself.
Example: I have been, in a professional situation, teased and joked about by colleagues; struggled to hear my clients when in my quiet office, and avoided the phone at all costs. When I finally resorted to using the word little d deaf, I was ready to tear my hair out over the lack of respect and professional behavior in our clinic.
When I finally did say “I am deaf.” Boy! Did things begin to change. I called for ADA accommodations and they were provided. I “got by” before the accommodations appeared but after they did, I began to thrive. Sometimes it’s like Teddy Roosevelt said, “Walk softly and carry a big stick.” When I pulled out the stick, my colleagues got the message.

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@lizzy102 Thank you for sharing your experience. It's so important for people with hearing loss to understand the importance of self advocacy. Without it we fade into the background, and likely don't work up to our potential.

By educating our employers, we help ourselves and many down the road who need the same kind of support.

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@hergiew

Dr. Jeff King of Audiology Concepts in Edina, Mn, 952– 83 1-4222 is an excellent audiologist. Dr. Cliff Olson recommend Audiology Concepts and if you are not familiar with Dr. Olson of Anthem Arizona Google him and listen to his excellent videos. Good luck.

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Thank you so much for this suggestion. I am actually located in Edina. I will check out Dr. King based on your recommendation.

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