© 2009

Pearl Feder, LCSW

Is it my imagination, but I have yet to see attitudes among the late deafened and individuals with hearing loss change?  I mean, of course amongst our SWC lists, people are learning daily to cope and deal with many issues in their lives which hearing loss affects.

However, I'm still seeing new wearers of hearing aids not informing people they have difficulty hearing.  I am still seeing a huge demand for in-the-ear canal hearing aids so that visibility is non-existent. I am still hearing people ask, do I have to tell my employer I have a hearing loss?  I am still hearing people refuse to request reasonable accommodations and I am still hearing people say that hearing loss means you are "OLD."

I still hear people complain that their friends and family are uncooperative with rephrasing, and insensitive spouses or significant others continue to be empowered. 

Here's how I see the problem, and we can't blame hearing people for it all. We as adults with late deafness or hearing loss, first feel very alienated from the general population and it creeps into our social lives so fast that "we" are not even the ones to first notice that we have a hearing problem.

When we begin to realize we may have a hearing loss, we go into denial mode, which is a natural reaction.  Soon after, some will head for an audiologist; others will head for the hills and "yes" people to death.  No one wants to feel left out but that's exactly what hearing loss does to us, it makes us feel left out.

Family members and friends, who do not understand, truly do not understand what it means to have a hearing loss.  They do not understand that hearing loss affects us all differently and that wearing a hearing aid(s) does not make for perfect speech discrimination. Let alone that most hearing people do not understand what speech discrimination means.

I consider myself fortunate, my hearing friends truly want to understand what it all means and I'm still working on my family understanding it all. For those of you who still have difficulty helping family and friends understand hearing loss, don't give up.  I came upon two websites that should be shared with your family and friends. When you share it, you really should be present to answer their questions or better yet, watch the reaction on their faces when you point out which hearing loss you have.  

The one person who can help change society's attitude is you. You have the ability to provide the support needed to help change the attitudes of people who are going through the hearing loss process and those who have their hearing.

This first website is excellent. It gives the hearing person a fairly good idea of the differences between the different types of hearing losses and how we, as people with hearing loss hear the sentences spoken by a child, a male adult and a female adult.

Another good site to share: