It’s not easy living with hearing loss. It can be exhausting to make sense of all the sounds in the environment, and make it more difficult to communicate with loved ones. On top of that, people don’t always realize just how hard it is to live with hearing loss. Here are a few things that people with hearing loss wish you knew.
Hearing Aids Are Amazing, But They’re Not Perfect
Hearing aids are marvels of innovation and technology. They effectively treat hearing loss and make it possible to have a vibrant social life despite hearing loss. But they can’t fully replace natural hearing. Putting in a pair of hearing aids doesn’t undue hearing loss.
People with hearing loss wish you would realize that hearing aids help tremendously, but they still need some help from you. Hearing aids aren’t like glasses. You can’t put on hearing aids and suddenly experience each sound perfectly. There will always be the odd sound that’s harder to hear or listening environments where hearing is more difficult.
Hearing Loss is Really Tiring
Spending all day every day straining to hear can get exhausting. Hearing aids take away a lot of that fatigue, but it’s still tiring to hear. Your brain is doing extra work to help you hear, and this may take some energy or focus away from other tasks.
People with hearing loss wish you knew that hearing loss can be tiring. They may seem more tired in the evening or even ask to have a conversation in the morning rather than at night. This is a small accommodation you can offer that can make a big difference. If they have less energy in the evening, don’t ask them to do stressful tasks or have a long conversation. They may just need an evening to rest and a good night’s sleep.
Hearing Loss Might Cause Some Misunderstandings
If your loved one has hearing loss, you know they sometimes mishear or misunderstand what you said. It’s not on purpose, and it doesn’t mean your loved one is stupid. Misunderstandings can happen to anyone, and it’s common for those with hearing loss.
People with hearing loss wish you knew that they’re not stupid or rude. They had an honest misunderstanding, and that doesn’t mean they’re too stupid to understand what you’re saying. Try not to get upset or frustrated. Instead, rephrase what you said and try again. Your loved one will appreciate that you’re including them in conversations and helping them understand what was said.
Hearing Loss Might Look Like Rudeness
If you see your loved one with hearing loss and they ignored you, don’t jump to conclusions. Even if you said hello or waved, your friend may not have heard you. If you didn’t make eye contact with your loved one, there’s a good chance they didn’t hear you.
People with hearing loss wish you knew that sometimes they don’t notice people who call their name from across a crowded room. They may be focused on ordering their coffee or picking up groceries, and they just didn’t hear you.
Having Hearing Loss Doesn’t Mean Someone Wants Help
It’s tempting to jump in when you see someone having a hard time. However, if you’re with someone with hearing loss, don’t assume they want help. Next time you’re at a restaurant and your friend is having trouble hearing the waiter, don’t jump in and order for them. Instead, repeat what the waiter said, and help your loved one order for themselves.
People with hearing loss wish you know that they appreciate your help, but only if they ask for it. They want to remain autonomous and don’t need you to answer for them.
Hearing Loss is Invisible
Hearing loss is sometimes called an invisible disability. That’s because there are no visual cues that tell you if someone has hearing loss. And even if you know your friend has hearing loss, you don’t always remember that they have a hard time following conversations.
These are just a few of the things people with hearing loss wish you knew. Next time you talk to your loved one with hearing loss, ask how you can help them hear, and follow their suggestions. They’ll appreciate the help and support.