Talking about Hearing Loss: Why Your Disclosure Method Matters

Talking About Hearing Loss is no easy task.

You may have recently received the news that you have hearing loss. This information, though it may be disheartening at first, can actually lead to a much better way of life. Things can only get better once you receive adequate hearing assistance and move down the path to improvement. One of the steps along the path to improved hearing is to let others know that you have experienced hearing loss. Like any life experience, you have the choice of how and when to disclose what has happened to you. Each person has a different approach to letting others know about hearing loss. Just as with another life event, some people prefer to keep information to themselves. Others feel free to tell total strangers significant details of their lives. This continuum of disclosure applies to hearing loss just like anything else.

Disclosing Your Hearing Loss

One approach to telling others about your hearing loss is to limit your disclosure to only the very important people around you. For example, maybe your family, friends, and close working relationships. Those who opt for this type of disclosure tend to find hearing loss a very personal thing. They don’t want to tell just anyone about their condition. Basic disclosure to loved ones and close associates is one way to approach communication about hearing loss. This type of disclosure is practical. Your family will see you using hearing aids and struggling to hear in certain circumstances. So, it makes perfect sense to let them know. There may also be others that you just decide not to share the information with, and that’s okay too.

This approach to limited disclosure is between two other extremes. At one extreme, some sufferers of hearing loss may feel uncomfortable telling anyone about their condition. They may hide the information even from close friends, family members, and coworkers. This game of hiding and seek can only last so long. Inevitably your loved ones will notice your struggle to hear, and they will certainly notice your hearing aids. They may feel a little shy bringing up hearing loss before you do. The secrecy surrounding hearing loss is a losing battle. You can’t keep your experience hidden forever, and it will become clear at some point that you have suffered from hearing loss.

At the other extreme, some people may feel inclined to disclose to everyone that they have experienced hearing loss. Of course, this approach to communication doesn’t hurt a thing! Telling casual acquaintances or strangers about your hearing loss is not a problem at all. Talking about hearing loss opens you up to talking about it freely and openly.

The Multipurpose Disclosure Method

Between these extremes, some who have experienced hearing loss find a way to communicate their hearing loss when it becomes appropriate, even with strangers. In everyday interactions at shops, community services, and social gatherings, it may become relevant information to share that hearing loss has occurred. You may have difficulty hearing what someone says or you may need to ask them to speak up. In these cases, a multi-purpose disclosure method would share not only the need to speak more loudly or clearly but the reason why.

Disclosing the particularities of hearing loss can really help. If you can say, I have some trouble hearing from my left ear, so that’s why I’m turning my right ear toward you the person you’re talking with will feel comfortable and at ease. Similarly, instead of simply asking someone to Speak up, you can let them know, My hearing isn’t so good in loud rooms, so would you mind talking a bit louder? Disclosing the right information in the right context is an important decision for you to make as you move through your day and interact with people in a variety of contexts.

Though you may find some resistance to disclosing your hearing loss, finding the right way to talk about it will make life easier for everyone involved. You can disclose any way you choose, but there should be no stigma around hearing loss! Each of our bodily abilities comes and goes over the lifespan, and you will find that the people in your life are eager to support you on the path to clear communication and comfortable hearing.

To learn more about hearing loss and to schedule a hearing test, contact us at Hearing Group today.

Jesse Hidalgo, BC-HIS

Jesse is Board Certified in Hearing Instruments and has built over 25 practices during his business career starting in 1998. Using his training in Hearing Instrument Sciences he has helped thousands of patients across those practices hear better.
Published: May 28, 2018

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