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May 2, 2019
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Hearing loss
May 3, 2019

How I explain my hearing loss to friends and family

Living with hearing loss is not an easy feat, but with the right support, it can be managed.

There have been a lot of questions and discussions in the hearing loss community recently, of how best to describe deafness and hearing loss to family and friends. This is how I explain my hearing loss to others.

My hearing loss is a part of me

You may or may not know, but I have a hearing loss. It’s just a part of me, it hasn’t changed who I am.

According to the World Health Organization, over 5 percent of the world’s population has a form of hearing loss. We all have various levels of deafness, different communication methods and use hearing technologies. If there’s anything you want to know about hearing loss feel free to ask!

Here are a few simple considerations to help make life easier with hearing loss:

Include me in group conversations

Communication is one of the main challenges we face, particularly in group situations. We can be quite good at hiding the fact we didn’t understand something or hear what someone said. It’s easy to get carried away in laughter or deep in discussion. If you can take a moment to repeat things, let us know the topic or repeat jokes, we will feel more included!

Read more: Never Mind: How to Handle Communication in Groups

Sometimes one on one situations are best

Hearing loss can be quite isolating. If you notice us excusing ourselves from groups, turning down social outings, please ask us if we’re ok. We do this because it’s easier to isolate ourselves than to deal with the hindrance of not understanding group chats, with loud background noises, but it can have a negative impact on our mental health.

We may prefer one on one situations. I’ll always be up for doing something fun just the two of us! There are lots of things to do, just a few small amendments like quieter venues, good lighting, off-peak times, it all helps!

Please have patience

Communication is a two-way process. If we didn’t get it the first time, we’ll get there eventually.

Please face us when talking, if we didn’t catch you, please repeat or explain things in a different way. If not, type or write it down. It’s easy to get frustrated if we don’t understand, as we feel the frustration too, so let’s work together.

We’re no different

Everyone is unique. Hearing, or deaf; we all have our own identities, traits, and differences. Just because we have a hearing loss doesn’t mean we wish to be treated differently. It’s a part of us.

Some of us have embraced it, others may yet to accept it, but we all want to feel included and loved, treated no differently.

What tips do you have for explaining hearing loss to friends and family?

Author Details
Ellie was born profoundly deaf, uses verbal communication, lipreads and wears Phonak Sky Q hearing aids. She is currently learning British Sign Language. Ellie hasn’t let her disability stand in the way and embraces every new challenge. Her deafness didn’t prevent her from achieving major accomplishments in her life, such as excelling in her education, previously working as a Marketing Executive and now as an Events Coordinator for a deaf organization, as well as blogging for Hearing Like Me. She is passionate about deaf awareness, campaigning for equality and helping others through her personal blog as Deafie Blogger.