Have you had a friend or family member say this to you? Have you said or thought this when talking to someone that you know has a hearing aid??
This week in my office, I had a woman break down in tears as she explained to me how frustrated she felt when her family said these exact phrases to her. I had inherited this patient, so this was my very first chance to counsel her on her type of hearing loss and what she should and could expect from her hearing aids. A look at her chart told me that we had more than doubled her understanding of speech from 32% to 72%. Wow, what an increase, yet she will still miss 3 out of 10 words.
It is a common misconception that getting a hearing aid is the total extent of hearing rehabilitation. Pop one on and you are back to “20/20” hearing. I can’t tell you how much I wish this were the case. A hearing aid is only one piece of hearing rehabilitation. It may need to be bolstered by lip-reading, watching other body language clues, asking the speaker to slow down or speak up, reducing environmental noise, using additional assistive devices and even by strengthening auditory cognition through brain-teaser games. ASHA, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, has great resources to learn more.
Use my mom’s 10 Commandments the Hearing Impaired Wish You Knew to open the conversation and help educate your family and friends on your hearing limitations. It’s a quippy little guide with tips like, “Thou shalt not speak to the listener from another room”.
Having a little grace, forgiveness and patience with those that don’t quite understand what you are going through is the best way to handle those seemingly careless comments. Educating them in the same way that your hearing care provider educated you will help close the gap in that understanding. If you are being proactive in seeking hearing rehabilitation and by wearing a hearing aid then I AM PROUD OF YOU! I’d love to hear how you relate to this post, or how you have gotten family or friends to come around and be a little gentler with you when talking about your hearing loss.
Hi! I’m Madison. I’m a Hearing Instrument Specialist ( like my mother ). I’m observing, learning, absorbing and sharing as I become a part of this beautiful community. I want to know you! So please leave me comments if my posts are meaningful to you or teach you something new, and feel free to tweet me at @LevineHearing!