Hearing loss has been called the silent hurt. Hearing loss is usually gradual and can go unnoticed for years. In fact, prior to modern testing, a child born with hearing loss could easily be misdiagnosed receiving improper treatment until age 4 or 5! Hearing loss is a symptom that is invisible, and as such, it’s not well understood by friends and family.
Please recognize and remember that I have been diagnosed with a hearing loss and your encouragement and assistance is very important to me. I’m doing all I can to make the most of my residual hearing. Thank you for taking the time to read these suggestions and, even more, to put these into practice. It’s a great demonstration of your love for me. I’ve read through these suggestions myself and have checked those that I feel would be particularly helpful.
- Please talk to me face to face. If I can see you, I’ll be able to understand you much better as I can see your mouth and facial expression. Don’t talk to me from the next room.
- My hearing aids help me hear, but they don’t fix my hearing problem. Be patient with me.
- Please talk at a normal rate. Fast speech is difficult for me to follow. If I ask you to slow down, please don’t be offended.
- If I ask you to repeat something, please rephrase the statement or question with a bit more volume to your voice. If you rephrase what you said I may be able to more easily piece together the meaning. If you shout, it won’t help me and may discourage me in our communication.
- When we go out in public consider the environment. Pick a quiet restaurant where I can hear with little background noise. Call ahead and make reservations for good seating at a play, or we can arrive early to get good seating.
- Don’t listen for me. Also, don’t answer for me. Although I may struggle it’s important that I am as independent as possible in my communication with others. I’ll ask you if I need help.
As you help, know that I’ll be doing my part. I promise to:
- Wear my hearing aids.
- Acknowledge my hearing loss and ask for help when I need it.
- Honestly communicate – I’ll try not to use my hearing loss as an excuse, and I promise not to manipulate you using my hearing impairment.