by Neil Bauman, Ph.D.
Perhaps the greatest emotion we have when we lose some (or more) of our hearing is fear.
One otologist (Otologists are doctors that specialize only in ears.) with rare insight wrote on a patient’s card, “progressive hearing loss,” adding “the record might more accurately read, Diagnosis: fear. Fear of failure. Fear of ridicule. Fear of people. Fear of new situations. Fear of chance encounters. Fear of sudden noises. Fear of imagined sounds. Fear of being slighted. Fear of being avoided. Fear of being conspicuous.”
These are just a few of the many fears that haunt us.
When my wife, Diane, was first losing her hearing, fear was the first emotion that impacted her. She was afraid. At that time, four fears immediately jumped into her mind.
1. Will I be able to still function? (How will I be able to function if I can’t hear?)
2. Will I lose my job? (How can I do my job if I can’t hear?)
3. Will I still be able to drive? (Can hard of hearing people even drive?)
4. Will I be able to look after my children? (How will I be able to care for my children when I can’t hear them?)
Since we fear the unknown, the way to overcome fear is by learning about our hearing losses. Following each of the above fears is a “how” question. With more knowledge about hearing loss, we will soon begin to find solutions to these questions. As we do this, we find that hope begins to replace our fears.
Apart from reading articles and books on the subject of hearing loss–such as are on this website (https://hearinglosshelp.com), one of the best ways to learn how to successfully cope with hearing loss is to join hearing loss support groups. That way, you will learn how others successfully cope with their hearing losses. You can then incorporate these ideas into your own life.
If you want to join a face to face support group, join SHHH (Self Help for Hard of Hearing People) in the US (http://www.hearingloss.org) or CHHA (The Canadian Hard of Hearing Association) in Canada (http://www.chha.ca). If you’d rather join an on-line support group for hard of hearing people, the SayWhat Club (SWC) is one of the best (http://www.saywhatclub.org).