When You Love Someone with Hearing Loss
Hearing loss is just one part of somebody, not their entirety.
Posted Feb 13, 2019
Do you love someone with hearing loss? With 50 million Americans suffering from hearing loss, I bet most people do. What can you do to show your affection for them this Valentine’s Day and every day in between? It starts with acceptance, support and understanding. But most importantly, love.
Hearing loss is just one part of somebody, not their entirety. Remember to keep the hearing loss in perspective, acknowledge and accommodate for it, but don’t let it be the center of attention. The person should be.
When someone has hearing loss, friends and family are also affected. Communication patterns are altered, new technologies must be learned, and everyone must adjust to the frustrations and comedy of mis-hearings. Sometimes friends and family members don’t know what they can do to support us.
Share this simple poem with them as a guide.
How to LOVE Somebody With Hearing Loss
Listen and respond to his needs. Work to understand how you can help the person to hear his best. This might mean turning the music down or keeping the lights up. Ask him what he needs and he will tell you.
Open your mind to communication best practices. Always face the person when speaking and get his attention first. Provide context and be prepared to repeat or rephrase difficult words. (See my detailed communication tips here.)
Value the whole person. See the full person, not just the hearing loss. Accommodate and adjust, but also enjoy the personal relationship you two share. People are much more than their challenges.
Embrace the hearing loss. Make it a normal part of the relationship, not a shameful secret. Accept the challenges and the necessary workarounds, but don’t forget to laugh at the inevitable mistakes. Some are a riot.
Copyright: Shari Eberts/LivingWithHearingLoss.com. Reprinted with permission.