Have you grieved your hearing loss?
On twitter this week, I saw several comments about the emotions of mourning, missing, and accepting hearing impairment. We are only born with five senses, and no bones about it, to lose one of them partially or completely can be traumatic.
I currently have hearing in the normal range, but I can most certainly empathize with feelings of grief. I experienced a different kind of loss, when my fiancé passed away unexpectedly in 2009 ( I rarely share this information anymore, but perhaps this is part of my catharsis too). Losing a person that you feel is a part of you could be similar to losing a physical ability. You must form new habits under these new conditions. Assumptions you held about life, living, friends, and even your own plans and goals, must be reevaluated as your mind works to create a new understanding of what your life will be.
Of course the method of hearing loss will affect your emotions surrounding it, as a sudden loss may illicit very different emotions than a gradual loss. In my own grief journey, I have not found the much-talked-about “five stages of grief” to be true. My truth has been that there might be stages, but you may go through more or less than someone else. You may go through them in a very different order than other people. Most importantly, you have to do what is best for you! Not one person on this earth has lived your life and can tell you the perfect way to handle your situation. In fact, perhaps you aren’t grieving your hearing loss at all. It may just seem like a fact of life that you want to take in stride. That’s ok too!
Here is a simple truth: Your new reality doesn’t have to be a worse reality.
There is a HUGE community of people who have hearing loss just like you! Did you know that nearly 1 in 5 people have hearing loss? But how about some similar numbers, that only 1 in 5 people who could be helped by hearing aids actually seek help. And this one is sad but not unexpected: on average people will wait roughly ten years with hearing loss before seeking help. This is especially dangerous as the phrase “use it or lose” can mean that untreated hearing loss can go so long that your brain has difficulty distinguishing clear sounds, even with amplification. If you are concerned about this, just research auditory deprivation. You must be emotionally ready to get help, but please don’t take too long! When you take your fear of stigma, judgement, agism, and loss, and you put it aside to step into the open, you will experience so much more acceptance and support than you imagined.
Embrace your new techy toy and order the neon green hearing aid! I can see Twitter is alive with people discussing, contemplating and encouraging each other in this journey. Just search hashtags like #Hearingaids #Hearingloss #Hearing #Sound #Deaf and many more keywords (or click on my links), to find conversations to jump into.
I am joining the community of those with hearing loss as an outsider, a newbie, and to some, perhaps even a “young’n”! The more I learn, the more that I want to facilitate discussion on some of the harder and more emotional issues that come with hearing loss.
“One of the most valuable things we can do to heal one another is listen to each other’s stories.” – Rebecca Falls
So I wonder, have you grieved?
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!