Dealing with hearing loss during the Coronavirus outbreak may trigger some feelings of stress or anxiety, but it is also an opportunity to try or learn something new, rest, and rejuvenate and keep connected with others.
For someone with hearing loss, we know that communication is especially important.
“Hearing loss can have an impact on what we intuitively would refer to as “well-being,” according to Phonak. “Hearing is an emotional sense…it can also change how we can perceive emotions.”
If you or a loved one has hearing loss and they are currently in isolation, here are some tips for reducing feelings of isolation and improving well-being.
Learning how to communicate with hearing loss can be challenging, especially for those who are new to hearing loss. If you are new to hearing loss, you may still finding the best ways to reconnect with your family, friends and jump back into social situations.
Due to how hearing loss can affect you socially, it is important to remember to take care of your mental health and focus on your well-being.
Coronavirus and hearing loss may seem like a lot to manage, but there are plenty of activities and hobbies you can develop to keep you feeling connected, keep your spirits up and get the most out of this unusual time.
Staying connected with friends and family is first on the list for a reason. Hearing loss during the Coronavirus outbreak can be isolating.
The World Health Organization’s biggest recommendation for people in isolation is to stay connected to others to avoid feelings of isolation. This can be done by phone video calls, social media or email. Try to make a point of connecting several times a day via any of these methods. It is sure to boost your mood and keep things in perspective. Maybe there are friends or family members which you have been meaning to catch up with for a while. Here is your chance!
If you don’t have video-calling installed, try downloading either Skype, FaceTime, WhatsApp or Marco Polo, or Google Hangouts. If you are looking for a video calling platform with closed captions, Skype or Google Hangouts would be the best options.
Read more: How video chat can transform relationships for people with hearing loss
Read more: How to have better conference calls with hearing loss
According to HealthLine, “meditation reduces stress levels, controls anxiety and promotes emotional health.”
If you feel yourself becoming anxious or stressed about the virus or anything else, try a short meditation session to “press the reset button” on what you may be feeling. If you have never tried this before then search for “beginners meditation” on YouTube or another common resource would be headspace where you can do a basic course of ten minutes, every day for 10 days, for free.
You also may want to try yoga.
“Yoga increases body awareness, relieves stress, reduces muscle tension, strain, and inflammation, sharpens attention and concentration, and calms and centers the nervous system,” according to Psychology Today.
Here is one example of free online yoga videos.
Read more: Can meditation help soothe tinnitus?
Read more: How to create a holistic hearing loss health plan
Although getting motivated to exercise might be a little difficult, I bet we all agree that even after a very short workout we feel pretty great. This is due to the endorphins produced while we exercise which produces positive feelings in the body.
Whilst in self-isolation, try to do a short workout a couple of times a day. Maybe you just do your own short routine but if you want ideas or instructions, try one of these 10-minute workouts, a 7-minute instruction video.
This may seem silly but this is definitely one of my favorites. If I am feeling down, this is my go-to option. As dance is a form of exercise, it is great for stress reduction, disease prevention, and mood management, according to Mayo Clinic. Consider closing the curtains if you don’t want your neighbors to see, put on some music and dance around your living room!
Read more: Listening to music with hearing aids
Dig out your puzzles hiding in your attic. It is a good way to pass time and apart from improving memory and problem-solving skills, puzzles have also been proven to reduce stress levels. Or, play Charades, an old classic! If you do not live with anyone then you can do this with friends or family via video call.
Read more: 4 Speech and Listening Games for your hard of hearing child
Read more: This ASL online video game can help deaf teens
This is quite an obvious one as it is well known for relaxation and enjoyment. Maybe you have a stash of books and it is time to re-read them.
Check out these hearing loss related books for toddlers, or these books by deaf authors from the HLM Book Club.
Read more: Audible releases captions for audiobooks
At least in some parts of the world, COVID-19 has come during the springtime, which is one of the best times of year for gardening. If you haven’t already got what you need, try ordering seeds online and plant some herbs, veggies or flowers in your garden or on your balcony.
You could also take a walk. Getting out of the house and in the fresh air is very important to boost mood. Make sure of course to avoid other people by trying to walk in more remote areas such as in the forest.
Read more: How hearing nature changed my perspective about the outdoors
Always fancied learning a foreign language? This is the perfect time to do so.
Try learning sign language or an oral language through platforms such as Duolingo, or by connecting with an online tandem partner who speaks the language you want to learn.
Housework and cleaning can be therapeutic, and you can enjoy the benefits. Sorting out cupboards is a good place to start! I’m sure you will be smiling when you open your newly ordered cupboards!
You can also take this opportunity to clean your hearing technology.
Try cakes, cookies, bread and enjoy the eating part! Search for new recipes online. If you have stockpiled too much of something, search for a recipe specifically to use that ingredient.
You might be like Meagan Swanson, the deaf “Nailed it” baker who baked badly on Episode 4 of the Netflix show, or you might end up with a new favorite dish.
Movies, Netflix and TV is a great way to unwind, especially if they have deaf actors.
Here are four deaf actors to watch on Netflix right now, or you can binge watch “StrangerThings,” which stars Millie Bobby Brown, who has single-sided hearing loss.
Don’t have Netflix? Check out these YouTubers with hearing loss, or watch Phonak’s “Here to Hear Comedy Tour”.
Take a bath, cuddle up on the couch with a cup of tea, give yourself a self-manicure/pedicure or do a face mask. There are many ways to practice self-care and paper yourself at home.
Have some stickers laying around the house? Why don’t you decorate your hearing aids?
You can also do other crafts, such as making a scrapbook with old photos, or take up a new skill such as knitting or sewing.
Read more: Why I decorate my hearing aids
Search online for social groups or forums on topics or hobbies you are interested in. We at HearingLikeMe also have a community online, which you can be a part of by joining our Phonak hEARos program.
We hope you found something useful in this list! If you have more ideas on how to cope with hearing loss during the Coronavirus outbreak, please feel free to reach out to us on Instagram and Facebook. Above all, stay home, stay connected and stay well!