Ten million – that’s the approximate number of people in the UK today who are living with some form of deafness. It’s a lot of people!
For the one in seven of us affected, it can be challenging, to say the least. And it doesn’t help that those with unimpaired hearing so often lack any understanding or awareness of deaf accessibility issues, or an appreciation of the social isolation that hearing loss can bring.
When someone starts to notice they are experiencing hearing loss – and it can be a gradual process – they react in different ways. Some are keen to research information online, while others may feel vulnerable, worried or angry. Or they simply ignore the problem altogether and try to get by. This mixture of emotions and frustrations are all perfectly understandable, when confronting a difficult situation.
The good news is that if you find your hearing is compromised, there is practical, easy-to-come-by help available. Here are six positive tips to help you cope with hearing loss:
- The first step to take in order to live successfully with deafness is initially seeking the relevant help from hearing professionals, such as those who are available through our network of centres. Our expert practitioners can assist you to find the best solution for your hearing problem and provide advice on support groups and self help resources. There is plenty of help out there – you needn’t be alone.
- Learn to communicate well. Helpful information about improving your communication techniques with hearing people, and learning to lip read, can be found at Action on Hearing Loss.
- Help your friends, family and work colleagues communicate better with you by educating them on what works best for you. The more you make them aware of your situation, the easier life will be. And having a large, empathetic support network around you will overcome any feeling of isolation.
- Take time to research available benefits and grants that may fund the assistance you need e.g. the Access to Work grant could help cover the cost for communication and equipment support that you may need to stay in work. The Disabled Students’ Allowance also provides funding to students in higher education, helping pay for specialist equipment and support for your studies.
- Participate in groups where you can meet and learn from people facing the same issues as you – a good place to start would be at your local GP surgery, where they are sure to have tips and information to point you in the right direction.
- Getting out there, collecting and raising awareness of living with deafness, in a team environment, can provide a big “feel good” factor for everyone involved – and make a real difference. To find out how you can get involved and be part of something extremely worthwhile again visit Action on Hearing Loss.
Always remember that being deaf, or having some form of hearing loss, shouldn’t hold you back. Here are two examples of some truly inspirational people who are hard of hearing and yet pushing the boundaries of living with deafness.