As we approach the end of 2019, we’re supposed to take stock of the past year. What have we accomplished, and where did we fall short? What hearing loss resolutions do we have for the next year?
Let’s face it, New Year’s resolutions can be intimidating. No wonder the failure rate is about 80 percent, according to U.S. News & World Report. But what if we narrow our focus?
For example, those of us with hearing loss can’t escape the effect it has on our lives. So what can we do that’s practical to make things easier or better? Yeah, losing those stubborn 15 pounds will make you healthier and happier, but wouldn’t you rather hear someone asking if you want another piece of pie?
I know for myself, I do a terrible job of keeping track of everything related to my hearing loss. When did I get my current earmold? When was my T-Mic last replaced? Do I have any backup cables for when mine gets too twisted and the volume cuts out?
I recently put all my cochlear implant receipts and materials in one container, but I need to take it a step further. I’m going to create a spreadsheet where I’ll keep track of this kind of information.
I also asked other deaf adults about their resolutions for 2020, and the most popular one was to do more auditory training.
For some people, that means using audio books. For others, like my friend Chris, it means using auditory habilitation apps geared for adults on his iPhone. Ones he’s found include Games 4 Hearoes, Bring Back the Beat, Hear Coach, and Speech ID 2. Ok, I guess I have a second resolution; I haven’t done any listening practice in ages!
How often do we purchase something new and fail to read the manual, or experiment with different settings? I know I’m guilty of this. At mapping appointments, when the audiologist asks which setting I like best, I have to say I don’t know. Likewise, Hayley resolves to play around with her cochlear implant settings more, especially in social settings. Shoot, does this make resolution #3 for me?
A couple people say their resolution is to get a new hearing device.
“Mine is to get new hearing aids with Bluetooth and listen to 80s music more often,” says Jane.
Katrina says hers is probably to get a second cochlear implant. She just completed a year of speech therapy. “Yup,” she says. “A 45-year-old woman taking speech again – crazy. But that tells you that I can hear my speech way better than I could with my hearing aid. I am so grateful for my cochlear implant.”
For Evan, a good resolution is to wear his cochlear implant more. He also recently bought a Roger Select, which he says has been so amazing that he needs to focus on using it more. Right now, he wears his CI about half the day, maybe a little less.
“Now that I have a new baby at home, I make a much more concerted effort to keep my implant on when I am at home,” he says, “but I still take it off too often at work when I’m at my desk.” He does this because he’s more effective in silence. “I never really learned how to tune out background noise, so even just ambient noise is distracting. It’s why I can’t listen to music while I work, which is a strategy I tried once to keep my implants on, and build up tolerance, but I also like the break that I get with the quiet. After a few hours of having my CIs on, it’s always a relief to shut them off.”
A couple of people I polled are focusing on socializing with others. Elizabeth, a hearing aid wearer, says she’ll push herself to go out for meals with friends or to networking events even when the hearing conditions at the locations aren’t optimal.
“I want to be more social next year, and I’ll need to let go of the stress of not catching every word,” she says.
“I want to be more social next year, and I’ll need to let go of the stress of not catching every word.”
In a similar situation is Henry – who doesn’t wear a HA or CI and is profoundly deaf. He recently moved into a retirement community.
“My resolution is to be more patient with people who have a hard time understanding my speech,” he says. “Many of those in this retirement community themselves don’t hear so good no more.”
Like me, maybe you can relate to many of these resolutions (I lost track of how many I’ve added!). Hopefully, they’ll inspire you to come up with some more, and follow through on them all. If not, there’s always pie.