In this month’s article, I would like to discuss the importance of advocating for your hearing loss. Jen Jefferis, who coordinates our monthly meetings, very much believes that you should advocate for your hearing loss. One of the first steps you should take is to let other people know you have hearing loss. Hearing loss tends to be an invisible disability and people who don’t know you will likely assume that you have normal hearing.

I realize that you may not be comfortable acknowledging your hearing loss, but the more you do so, the easier it gets. My hearing loss occurred suddenly due to my Meniere’s Disease. I was still working at the time and not only had management responsibilities within my firm, but I also chaired several professional groups. These responsibilities required me to interact with others both in person and by conference call. I learned quickly that it was best to make others aware of my disability. I found that my associates were very willing to make accommodations for me such as asking me where in the room it was best for me to sit. They were also very understanding of the aids I used such as my Roger On microphone, which helped me hear better in groups.

Most of us are now retired, so most of our interactions today are with family and friends. It is important to remind them of your hearing loss. It is going to be hard to hear your spouse if they are listening to the television or radio and have the volume turned up. You need to tell them to turn the volume down before talking to you. They also need to be facing you when they speak. As Jen would say, “If you want to communicate with a hearing-impaired person, you need to walk before you talk”. The hearing-impaired person will hear you much better if you are facing them as you speak.

These days, I am much more likely to be speaking to a medical professional, financial professional or repairman. I have learned to let them know as soon as we make introductions that I am hard of hearing. I ask them to speak slowly, and I am not afraid to ask if I can repeat a point to confirm my understanding of what they stated.

If you have comments regarding this article, my contact email is tgaule@outlook.com. This is also a topic that we would be happy to discuss further at one of our monthly meetings. These meetings are a great opportunity to find out how others cope with their hearing loss and how you can incorporate some of their strategies. The Discussion Group for Better Hearing meets the second Friday of each month at 10 a.m. in the Sonoran Room at MountainView Clubhouse. For more information about the meetings, email Jennifer Jefferis at jenjefferis4u@gmail.com or Lyle Larson at lllarson72@gmail.com.

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