by Neil Bauman, Ph.D.
A lady asked:
I am interested in coping with my hearing loss. What all does it involve?
Successfully coping with hearing loss includes all the things we do in order to communicate as well as possible in spite of our hearing losses. There are 5 basic steps or areas of coping that are necessary for you to include in your coping strategy program.
These five steps include:
1. Grieve for Your Hearing Loss
Hearing loss throws your emotions into a turmoil–especially if your hearing loss is quite rapid. In order to get yourself on an even keel again so that you are ready to successfully cope with your hearing loss, you first need to grieve for your hearing loss.
This step is very important–yet often overlooked. I strongly recommend reading the article “Grieving for Your Hearing Loss,” or even better, the short, easy-to-read book “Grieving for Your Hearing Loss–The Rocky Road from Denial to Acceptance” to help you through this process.
2. Get Hearing Aids
The next step is getting and wearing properly-fitted hearing aids. Be aware there is an adjustment period. To help you adjust I highly recommend reading the excellent article “Becoming Friends with Your New Hearing Aids.”
3. Use Hearing Assistive Technology
Because hearing aids do not work well in all situations, you need to supplement their use with various assistive listening devices (ALDs) and alerting devices. Two such ALDs are personal listening systems such as the PockeTalker and Room Loops. You can learn more about the value of the PockeTalker in the article “Hear In Noise? You Bet You Can! Here’s How” Room loops are explained in the article “Loop Systems—the Best-Kept Secret in Town.”
4. Learn to Speechread
Speechreading (the old term was lipreading) is watching a person’s face to “see” what they are saying. Speechreading is most valuable for filling in the gaps you miss with your hearing aids, or for when you are not wearing them. Learn more about speechreading in the article “Speechreading (Lip-reading).”
5. Use Everyday Coping Strategies
Everyday coping strategies include all the little things you need to do in order to best understand what people are saying. Many of these coping strategies are explained in the short book, “Talking with Hard of Hearing People–Here’s How to Do It Right!” Still more are contained in the article “Practical Coping Strategies for Hearing Loss.” These coping strategies are all free and just involve a bit of effort.
Following all the above will let you communicate ever so much easier than if you do not follow them. The difference is like night and day. I know. I’ve used them every day of my life!