by Neil Bauman, Ph.D.

A lady wrote:

I need some emotional support for my hearing loss. Could you recommend a hearing loss support group near me?

There are very few support groups in the USA that are focused on emotional support where you sit around and share experiences. All is not lost though. There are two kinds of groups that I can heartly recommend.

If you want a physical group where you meet monthly, join the local chapter of the Hearing Loss Association of America (formerly Self Help for Hard of Hearing People). To find the closest chapter to you, go to http://www.hearingloss.org/StateChap/states_and_chapters.html, click on your state and then contact the chapter of your choice.

If you would like a cyber (on-line) support group, the SayWhat Club (SWC) is the best support group there is for hard of hearing people. The SWC is divided into a number of subgroups or “families” with different “personalities.” You join the one that best suits your needs. In each group or family, all emails are automatically distributed to all members via a listserv.

You can learn more about the SayWhat Club at http://www.saywhatclub.com/. To join the SWC, click on the “Subscribing to SWC” button and then follow the directions. You will be contacted by someone from the hospality committee and they will lead you through the membership process. Incidentally, the SWC is a closed group–that is, you have to apply and then be accepted to get in. However, it is definitely worthwhile if you want help and support and friendship. (You might even get more than just friendship. I met my wife in the SWC a number of years ago.)

If I were you, I’d join both of these groups. Each serves a slightly different purpose–but their goal is the same–helping hard of hearing people live successful lives in spite of their hearing losses.