Things You Should Understand About Hearing Loss 🦻

Artwork by @jeanachavezart 

As many of you know, who have visited my blog over the years know I have bilateral hearing loss in both ears. The first 6-7 years of my life, I didn't have hearing aids to enhance my hearing (if that's a way to put it) - I rely on lip-reading which in itself is a pretty exhausting thing even after a long day of intense listening and being in a busy environment, I prefer to take my hearing aids out. Speaking from experience we don't want special treatment, we just want a better understanding and for people to be more deaf aware.

When strangers come in contact with someone who is deaf/hard of hearing and haven't been exposed to deaf culture, it seems some people don't know how to react.

When you have a hearing loss, a conversation takes a lot of effort. We may only catch snippets of certain words so our brain is constantly working to figure out what was said based on the context of the discussion. After a long day of listening, we may be overcome with hearing loss exhaustion.
So I wanted to share some of my suggestions to give more awareness on hearing loss because frankly there isn't enough of it or more so lack of, I hope this will be of help for you.

- Don't tell them to wear hearing aids, every person with a hearing loss is different and frankly, it's not your place to say what they should do about wearing hearing aids or not.  

- Don't exclude them from things.

- Don't assume Deaf people are stupid or inferior to hearing people.

- Don't say "Oh, it's nothing" or "It doesn't matter" when a deaf person asks what's going on in a
conversation. It is hurtful and implies that you think they don't matter. 

- Don't expect them to want to change their deafness.

- Don't ask how do you live without music?

- But you don't look deaf...

- Don't ask them how they get through life with their disability.  They're not
disabled. Just ask them.

-Putting captions on for me, speak louder than words (quite literally). I'm not doing it to be annoying.

- Don't ask them to read someone's lips for you.

- Every deaf person is different and has a different story. We're not all the same.

- Donʼt throw objects or stomp/bang at them to get their attention

- Exaggerated gestures and mouth movements or move around.

- Don't say that they can't do something because of their hearing loss. Deaf people can achieve anything, so don’t let someone tell you that you can’t. In some ways, it may make you feel more determined to complete the goals you set yourself!

- Don't say 'Wow, you speak well for a deaf person!'
 If you meet a deaf person and their speech is a lot more advanced than you think, please do not say these kinds of sentences because they are extremely offensive and it can cause one to isolate themselves from you.

- When I tell you I'm deaf/hard of hearing, don't over-enunciate your words.

- Listening fatigue is a real thing. To maintain optimal understanding, those with hearing loss must allocate more brainpower to listening than those with hearing.

It is not that I am ashamed of my hearing loss or my hearing aids. These things are a part of who I am, and I am proud of my deaf identity. I think the challenge comes from years of training myself to pretend and as I got older, and then being diagnosed with anxiety and depression which manifested over the years because of my hearing loss which does cause a lot of stress on mental health and having said that, I became more comfortable with using my voice and be my own inspiration in my hearing journey.

Thanks for reading this post, I hope you found it useful.

Talk later,

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