Why A Support Network is Crucial For Anyone Dealing With Hearing Loss
Are you or a loved one experiencing hearing loss? It can be a harrowing experience at the best of times. And worse still, it's isolating—especially now, hearing impairment can make it incredibly difficult to maintain our connections with the people who matter most.
When it comes to navigating this trying time, it's imperative that you maintain a strong support network. We're not simply talking about friends and loved ones, though they do themselves play an incredibly important part. Rather, we're talking about people who understand what you're going through.
Other individuals who have experienced or are experiencing hearing loss and to whom you can relate. Because hearing loss, whether or not it's untreated, can easily exacerbate other conditions such as depression and cognitive decline. Hearing loss support groups can help address this problem, connecting you with a community of like-minded people who can help you navigate what may well be one of the most challenging experiences of your life.
As noted by WebMD, the right hearing loss support group:
- Provides you with a judgment-free space to discuss how hearing loss is affecting your life and develop coping strategies. Topics may include:
- Social isolation.
- Strained relationships.
- Concerns about one's inability to hear warning sounds like a smoke detector or car horn.
- Healthcare expenses.
- Coping with the stressors and heavy emotions of hearing loss.
- Strategies for managing one's personal and professional life when experiencing hearing impairment.
- Provides you with inroads to governmental support such as tax credits or subsidies.
- Makes you aware of other programs or communities that might help you navigate your hearing loss.
- Gives you a sense of camaraderie along with the comfort of knowing that you're not alone—that other people face the same challenges you do.
There are many different types of support groups as well, ranging from small local meetups to national agencies and communities. The best advice we can give is that you seek out one that you feel will work for you and go from there. As for where you can start your search, The Hearing Journal has a few suggestions:
- Seek out communities on social media. There are plenty of Facebook groups geared towards people experiencing hearing loss, and https://www.reddit.com/r/HearingLoss/ is also an excellent place to find support or education.
- Join an in-person support group. Although many still meet virtually, in-person meetings are likely to resume eventually. And when they do, you'll have a peer group within your city that truly understands what you're going through.
- Attend a convention. Do a bit of research and see if there are any hearing loss conventions near you or close enough that you can travel and attend. Equal parts social opportunity and trade show, hearing loss expos also tend to feature new hearing loss technology and accessible presentations by advocates and community members.
- Read a book. Although this may not necessarily connect you directly with a peer or colleague, it can provide some comfort by giving you both knowledge and coping skills for your hearing loss challenges.
Last but certainly not least, your audiologist can also help. Don't be afraid to speak to them at your next hearing test, and ask them if they're aware of any support or advocacy groups you might potentially join. Most audiologists will typically know of at least a few support options to help ease you through your journey.
When you're diagnosed with hearing loss, it can often feel like a death sentence—but it's not.
Above all, it's important to remember that hearing loss, though it can be life-changing, is nowhere near as grim as some would have you believe. Thanks to advances in modern medicine, it's entirely possible for you to live a normal life even while experiencing severe hearing impairment. Moreover, current advances in the medical field have the potential to not simply control the condition, but treat and reverse it.
Either way, whether you suspect you may be losing your hearing or are recently diagnosed, you aren't alone. There are people out there who can help you get through this. There are networks, communities, and support groups to help you develop the necessary coping strategies and mindset to live a happy, fulfilling life no matter the condition of your ears.