Have you ever been so frustrated by your hearing loss that you could just scream? I sure have. This usually occurs when I am already tired and worn out from listening all day, but can just as easily happen early in the day if the mood hits me. I try to roll with the punches, laugh as best I can at hearing misunderstandings -- come on -- I even write a blog about coping with hearing loss -- but nobody is perfect and sometimes I just want to shout, "Why are you not looking at me when you talk to me? Why are you mumbling behind your hand? How many times do I need to remind you to not talk to me from another room?"
Whew! I guess it happens to us all sometimes.
Usually it is my family that bears the brunt of this outburst. I guess I am not brave enough to yell at perfect strangers, yet. This is unfair to my family, of course, because most of the time they go out of their way to help me hear, but they are also around me the most, so it gives them the most opportunities for making communication errors.
Obviously, screaming is not productive, but in a sense, maybe it is. Sometimes we all need to vent and share our frustrations with others. Yelling and screaming is not the best way, but communicating our sadness and anger is better than keeping it inside or withdrawing socially. I know for me, once I have let off some steam and taken a bit of a break from the situation, I can often join back into the family dynamic.
This highlights for me the importance of finding a hearing loss community. While our families and friends love us very much, if they do not have hearing issues, they can't always understand what we are going through. I know my hearing loss pals have been a source of comfort to me when frustrations mount. We can swap stories, strategies, and complain to one another with complete understanding and no judgements.
Here are my tips for surviving the inevitable bouts of frustration that come along with hearing loss.
1. Take A Break: Many times, exhaustion can contribute to frustration. You can read about that here. Taking a short break to recharge your batteries allows your emotions to cool and your brain to rest.
2. Try To Put Things In Perspective: This one is easier said than done, but try to put things in context. Is not hearing this one thing the end of the world? In most cases it probably is not. If a loved one usually makes an effort, maybe you can let this one thing go.
3. Focus on What You Can Hear: Certain situations are always harder for hearing, like cocktail parties or other group settings. Rather than be sad about what you cannot hear, enjoy talking to the people closest to you, or pull someone aside for a conversation in a more conducive setting. Or just try to enjoy the atmosphere or music.
4. Find A Peer Group: Sharing stories with those that understand can be very helpful in releasing tension and sadness. If you don't know anyone else with hearing loss, ask your doctor or audiologist, or contact your local HLAA chapter.
Readers, how do you handle the frustration of hearing loss?
This post first appeared on Living With Hearing Loss.