“I lost my hearing. What now?” is very common question. It does not apply just to sudden hearing loss, but also to cases in which people finally admit to themselves they are deaf. When we suddenly lose our hearing, or when we admit we have a certain degree of hearing loss, what is the next step?
Get Out of the Deafness Closet
It sounds funny, but it’s very serious. The worst thing you can do is treat deafness as a taboo, a stigma, a secret. Acting like this will do you no good. You need to be open about it, because it is impossible to disguise hearing loss, and life becomes so much easier when you simply face the battle. Don’t be ashamed to tell people around you about your difficulties, and don’t let yourself feel like you have to hear just like before, because this is an unreal goal.
Look for an Ear Doctor Who Specializes on Hearing Loss
Forget popular beliefs. Don’t waste your time asking what your neighbors, your relatives, or your co-workers think. Don’t just look for Dr. Google and PLEASE do not pay attention, not even for a second, to any “miraculous cure”. Look for a hearing loss specialist as soon as possible. It makes the difference in your treatment.
Learn Everything About Your Type of Hearing Loss
Many people tell me things like “I still have 70% of hearing on my left ear and 25% on my right ear.” This makes no sense. It is impossible to talk about a percentage of hearing loss. So… You should look for information. Do your own research. From now on, you have a moral duty to be a walking encyclopedia on the topic.
Find a audiologist and Fall in Love with Him or Her
Your ear doctor will provide you with a diagnostic and the etiology of your hearing loss. However, after that, you will be sent to a audiologist for treatment. This professional will give you advice about hearing aids as well as how to adapt them should you decide to use them. You may also be subjected to various tests if you are being considered for a cochlear implant.
My personal advice is: find a audiologist you click with and fall in love with him or her. You will be going on a long journey together, filled with highs and lows, laughter and crying, with sounds both good and bad. You need to feel relaxed and cared for. However, you should not forget that, when it comes to deafness, nobody can perform miracles. Besides, using hearing aids is not the same as wearing glasses.
Hearing Aids Are a Serious Matter
If your doctor has suggested hearing aids for you, a new chapter on your story has begun. There are many brands available, providing basic and deluxe models. Still, every case is different. Your deafness is as unique as your fingerprint. Your friend’s device may not be the best for you.
It’s time to start working! Ask somebody you trust — a user, your doctor, your audiologist — and list at least three brands that interest you. Try to test each one, because this will be the only way for you to have an idea of the quality of both product and support. Look for reviews on the internet.
Get some friend with hearing loss
This is the best advice I can give you. In 2010, I started this beautiful online community called “Crônicas da Surdez” in Brazil and it led me to transform thousands of lives just by sharing my experiences as a person with hearing loss. There are many Facebook groups in English where you can make friends, ask questions, share your fears and thoughts. You are not alone. There are 1.5 billion people worldwide with hearing loss.
Paula Pfeifer is a brazilian writer. Two of her books about hearing loss, hearing aids and cochlear implants can be found in english and spanish in Kindle.
Support Paula Pfeifer’s work. She is a hearing rehabilitation activist in Brazil and she is deaf herself – two cochlear implants. You can support here!
SOCIAL MEDIA I AM DEAF BUT I CAN HEAR
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