Have you been struggling with your ability to hear others? Is it starting to get you down? Have you noticed you seem to be more tired lately…especially after all the activities of the holidays? With all situations in life we identify, analyze, and then deal with them. For example, if the car is dirty, you identify it or acknowledge the dirt...analyze it... how are you going to clean it. Maybe wash it in the driveway yourself with a little sweat. Maybe clean it by going through the automatic car wash. Perhaps call a mobile car service and have them come clean it. Finally, however you decide, you deal with it. This type of thinking is universal. It’s just being human.
Some people will stress over health situations while others may not seem to let anything bother them. Professionally, I have learned over the years that people process their own situations quite differently than others. Often the person that they are the most uniquely different from is their spouse.
The husband may want their wife to get a hearing evaluation, but the wife will insist for years that everything is fine with their hearing. Another scenario could be a wife who wants her husband to replace his 15-year-old hearing aid. His opinion is that is still turns on and whistles and therefore it must be working properly. Sometimes it the kids who come in exasperated with the parents and “just cannot believe their parents don’t care if they can hear or not!”
The truth in the matter is... they really do care. We all care about our specific situations or issues. Things must be analyzed. Decisions must be made. There is a lot of information that must be processed. First things first though... Remember, the very first thing is to “Identify” the situation.
Our hearing and communication abilities may present some hurdles. Very often it is the spouse, kids or significant other who will bring the communication problem to the forefront.
When a person gets a hearing loss, they will often go through several steps on their way to “dealing with it.” Hearing loss is considered an invisible disability. This is because it is very difficult for people with normal hearing to understand what someone with a hearing loss is going through. The first stage that a person will enter is: Denial. People often feel “less than” and self-conscious so it is easier to find reasons for the problems that they are having. For example, problems understanding in the restaurant was because of the noise...not their hearing ability. The next round is Anger. Just like with other disabilities, often people go through the “why me” stage which often leads to resentment. This is because the person who can’t understand in groups doesn’t understand that you don’t get why they don’t want to go to the clubhouse for coffee hour. They feel excluded. Anger...anger that they can’t fix it themselves. Move on to the ‘Bargaining’ stage. Now the hearing help has been sought out. Often anger and bargaining intermingles. Hearing aids have been fit; but why do things sound different? Why is it still difficult to understand some people? Why isn’t it all perfect?!! Throughout the teamwork with your hearing healthcare provider there will be bargaining... what is important... what is reality? It’s a journey that must be taken with a caring and knowledgeable hearing health care provider. As the journey continues there may come the next stage of Depression. Not all will go through this...or admit to it anyway. It is a rare individual who does not get a little bummed that a part of their anatomy is not “up to snuff.” Depression is seen with withdrawal from friends and families; especially group environments where it is harder to carry on conversations. With care, knowledge, and guidance the last stage of dealing with hearing loss is Acceptance. Throughout this journey it is discovered what is important to you. What activities are important to you? How do we help you hear that special person with the extra soft voice? Maybe you love music, and it has lost its soothing melody. Perhaps you like to go to the movies or just watch some sporting events on tv. Acceptance comes as your brain learns to functions with hearing nerves that you have not used in a while. It is an awakening that will take a little bit of time...but it will come...and life will improve. Take the first step. Seek out a qualified hearing health care provider. Life is Short. To Hear Better Is To Live Better.