You Already Have the Best Coping Strategy: Your Attitude!
A person with a hearing loss can cope with that issue by finding a good audiologist and acquiring suitable hearing aids. Next, they can improve the acoustic environment at their home by minimizing noise, improving the acoustics by choosing drapes, carpeting, and furniture to minimize echoing. Following that, they can learn about how to use assistive devices in appropriate situations. But, there’s one more thing that can be done, and it’s perhaps the most important thing, and that is to adopt a positive attitude towards your hearing.
I’m talking about making an attitudinal change towards your hearing loss. That change starts with taking ownership of your hearing loss. It’s natural to deny that you might be losing any of your capabilities, but that denial is a potential barrier to enjoying good communications with your family and friends, a barrier to enjoying meals out, entertainment, television around the house, and just the pleasure of everyday communications with all those you encounter in a typical day.
Many of us assume that others will judge us negatively if they know we have hearing loss. And yes, there are some jokes about hearing loss, but my personal experience tells me that that is rarely the case. I always let people know right up front that I have hearing loss, and almost always, I’ve received a positive response. People are curious about my hearing loss, and when I tell them about it, and about my cochlear implant and my hearing aid, they become more comfortable, and they genuinely want to help.
Once you take ownership of your hearing loss, you will persevere when you first begin wearing hearing aids. Although they might not sound “natural” at first, it takes a period of time before your brain adapts to the new sounds, sounds it likely has not had to deal with for a few years, and you will find yourself glad that you made the decision to get those hearing aids. And you’ll be comfortable letting others know that you need a little extra help with conversation, that it’s important to choose a quiet table in a restaurant, and that you’d like them to wear a remote microphone in appropriate circumstances. It will also be easier to ask theatre staff for the use of their assistive devices, and it will open you up to learning how to use the many assistive devices that are available.
We often hear the term advocacy. With the power that comes from making that attitudinal change, it becomes easy to be your own advocate. Reminding medical personnel and service employees that you need them to accommodate your hearing issue, letting hotel and theatre personnel that simple assistive devices are required to ensure you are treated as an equal, requesting captioning, and requesting special seating, or that presenters wear microphones all help, and all are easy to do when you make that decision to be open and up front about your special hearing needs.