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Managing the Stress of Hearing Loss

Stress Management and Hearing Loss is a PowerPoint presentation by Jennifer G. Sowards. It’s an insightful presentation providing information you wish people knew about those who have hearing loss.
Key points:
1. Normal hearing people do not experience the same level of fatigue from listening. People with hearing loss must work much harder in order to understand speech.
2. Tendency to avoid social gatherings.
3. Feelings of isolation and depression.
Proactive strategies (take control):
1. Find the best place to sit.
2. Don? be embarrassed about telling the person you are listening to that you have a hearing impairment and that you need them to speak clearly and distinctly (see notes below).
3. ask them look at you, keep hands away from face, speak slower, not wander, etc. nicely.
4. Look for context clues.
5. Don’t nod “yes” when you really don’t understand (me guilty of this).
6. Repeat back important information.
Reactive strategies (after it happens):
1. Ask specific questions as opposed to, “What?” “Huh?” “Eh?” (in honor of my Canadian friends)
2. Ask to rephrase what was missed.
3. Avoid frustration when you don’t understand (yeah, right… not when you have a 5-year-old grunting at you because you don’t understand).
4. Ask the person to write it down or move to a quieter spot.
The presentation covers ALDs (assistive listening devices). These don’t work for me except for the T-coil, which is a great way to listen to music or to try to hear on the phone.
Light flashers for alarms, doors, phones? Ha, they don’t work after two minutes. I do, however, use a vibrating alarm for when I travel. I despise it and much prefer the lovely hubby alarm.
Captions rule!
Your rights (important):
ADA indicates hospitals, hotels, and other public places are required by law to provide you with flashing alarms, TDD phone, and a special door knock alarm. To get these, however, you must ask for them. Be prepared to install them yourself as most personnel won’t know how to operate them.
At one hotel, I got a cool case of these devices.
Back to stress, isolation can lead to depression, a serious illness. Do not be ashamed to get help. It is a real illness like having the flu. I am getting treatment for it. There, see?
The Internet is (duh) a great place to get help through forums, communities, blogs (!). Just go to a favorite search engine and enter keywords like deaf, help, assistance, hearing loss.