One of the common health conditions that happen to senior citizens is the deterioration of their hearing. Many people wonder how they can accept hearing loss and cope with the effects it can have on their lives. Like many of life’s changes, there is a psychological component to dealing with hearing loss aside from the hard facts of how to manage the physical disadvantages.
Dealing with the psychological piece may be the most difficult part. Here are some ideas to help you along:
- Let others know how losing your hearing has emotionally affected you. This may stop them from saying things like “Never mind. It’s not important” when you ask them to repeat themselves. Being open about your feelings will help you process them more quickly.
- Talk to a psychologist or your home caregiver about how it can feel demeaning to think that you are “no longer part of the normal world.” You are part of the normal world. You mean just as much as everyone else. You are very capable of living life as normally as you did before.
- Value the place that you are in. The fact is that when you are grateful for the things that you do have, you will lessen the sting of your hearing’s absence.
- Remember your resilience. Think about the many times in your life that you have overcome seemingly insurmountable hurdles. This is just another challenge that you will overcome. You are strong.
Physical strategies for managing hearing loss can be part of the process of acceptance. Hearing loss is not usually something that happens all at once to elderly people. It is common for a person to notice a gradual deterioration of their hearing over a period of months or years. The rate at which it progresses differs between individuals. Things that you can actively do to manage your hearing loss are:
- Look into hearing equipment options. Technology has come very far, very quickly. There are now internal hearing devices as well as external. Your income, age, and health condition will help decide what type of hearing equipment is the best fit for you.
- Sharpen your other senses. It has been proven by studies that children and adults alike have overcome the disadvantages of blindness through using their sense of hearing. A report was done on a young man who rode his skateboard around his neighborhood, avoiding being hit by developing a uniquely sharp hearing ability. Use your eyesight to make up for your hearing loss as much as possible. Learn to read lips. Ask people to write things down.
- Develop new abilities. It’s never too late to learn sign language. There is a whole deaf community out there who live daily life as normally as you did when your hearing was sharp! Contact them and make new friends.
- Continue to be a part of a community. Staying active will only benefit you while you adjust to your new way of life.