Hearing declines with age, it’s a proven fact. There is a lot of stress that comes with losing something so vital to your existence. However, it’s a turning point in life that many will be forced to overcome, and not everyone will be prepared when the hard of hearing suddenly becomes, well, hard.
Although this isn’t something that is often thought of as a positive milestone in human life, it’s a challenge which has the ability to teach you a lot about yourself. Most importantly, losing your hearing (even if only partially) tests your social skills in a way which may make you feel outside of your familiar “box,” so to speak. Now that it may be more difficult to try to hear what others are saying to you, there are various potential responses you can have to this discomfort.
My strongest suggestion is to try your hardest to remain cool, calm, and collected during this difficult transition. Although you may be going through something emotionally straining, it’s not fair to bring your loved ones down with you.
As someone who has only experienced one side of the situation, I have found that more often than not, families and friends want to help you, not interrogate or tease you. Although the situation of losing your hearing can be frustrating to say the least, it can be made easier by allowing the ones who love you to support your adaptation into what is apparently a new layer of your social presence.
Reluctance in the Air
Many people run into problems upon finding out about their hearing loss. A sense of reluctance is often associated with this discovery, and I can understand why.
First, a certain amount of pride is required to wholly recognize that a significant life change is underway. When adults are unwilling to accept that they may be hearing-impaired, their own pride swallows up any possibility of progress. You may think that you’re too young to actually experience hearing loss, but oftentimes the reason for the impairment is caused by external and environmental factors, rather than age.
Preconceived notions about the effectiveness of hearing aids also influences a person’s desire to purchase them or not. Additionally, because the change in hearing is gradual, the person who has lost their hearing is often the last to realize. By the time the hearing loss is apparent, it has become too normal that the person doesn’t feel that they need a change.
Lean With It, Lean Into It
My grandfather, Jack, has been wearing hearing aids for the past five years. He was at first very reluctant to purchase them, as he thought that this investment would be the “official call” into elderly life. Upon recognizing his partial loss of hearing, he found it hard to get acclimated, in which case he took some of his frustrations out on my grandmother. This was not very fair to her, considering she wanted nothing other than to help him during this tough time. However, as time went on, I watched from backstage how he came to terms with his new ailment and allowed his wife to support him in his hearing alterations instead of resisting the changes he had recognized.
Losing your hearing has the ability to take a toll on a person not only physically, but emotionally as well. A lower volume of life can make the world feel like a completely unfamiliar place, but all it really needs is some getting used to. For my grandpa Jack, his vulnerability worked to his advantage. Although his hearing aids sometimes give him problems and occasionally malfunction, we are able to sit on the porch and talk about music the same way we used to. It was as if nothing changed. My grandfather was able to accept the curveball that life threw to him, and he hit it out of the park. Though his hearing skills were weakened, he didn’t let this shortcoming get in the way of his life, for in no way was it less beautiful than it once had been.
How has losing your hearing impacted your life? How have you adjusted to life’s changes? We’d love to hear your story!
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