Here’s the Best Way to Disclose Your Hearing loss to People
Letting others know about your hearing loss might seem like an obstacle that you need to overcome. But how can you do that? Is there any right time to tell others about your hearing loss? Are there specific ways to tell your loved ones about it?
Well, we all know that hearing loss may affect our relationships. And, these relationships suffer more if you try to hide or ignore that you have a hearing loss. We also are aware of the fact that hearing devices go a long way to help people with hearing loss to better communicate. But even with the most advanced hearing devices, there can be situations where it is important to point out that you have a hearing loss.
Disclosing your hearing loss is vital to maintaining healthy relationships with the people around you. And there’s no right time to let others know about your hearing loss. However, according to a study, there are three ways to talk about you hearing loss to others. These are:
- Basic Disclosure: to describe those who disclose that they have hearing loss and perhaps also share details about their condition. Example: I’m partially deaf due to an infection I had years ago.
- Non Disclosure: to describe those who do not disclose their hearing loss and/or use phrases that normal hearing people may use; Example: I can’t hear you. Please speak up.
- Multipurpose Disclosure: to describe those who disclose hearing loss and also suggest an accommodation strategy. Example: I don’t hear as well out of my right ear. Please walk on my left side.
While individuals had different ways of talking about their hearing loss, researchers suggest the multipurpose disclosure method is the best way to avoid isolation in social situations.
Hearing loss is an invisible disability, however, asking people to slow down or face someone with hearing loss while speaking may improve communication.
We have some tips to help you talk about hearing loss with your friends, family, and coworkers. Chances are that you behave a little bit differently around each of these groups of people, so the conversation you have about your hearing loss should be catered to each group.
Friends & Family
Family members can help you to understand how and why your hearing loss developed and support you in finding solutions to your hearing loss. Similarly, friends are often the people who know you best and they may have already noticed that you have a hearing loss. It’s in their best interest to help you communicate, because communication the basis of good friendship. But at times, it is hardest to talk about these things with whom you’re close to. But sometimes it is hardest to talk about these things with the people we are close to. You might not want your family to worry about you or meddle in your personal life. But the truth is – your family and friends may have been aware of your hearing loss long before you were. The best thing way to tell your family about hearing loss is to calmly explain to them that yes, you have difficulty hearing but that you need to be the one to ask for help. If you are not ready for hearing aids, suggest ways they can help make it easier for you to hear and understand them.
Talking to your boss or coworkers about your hearing loss can be more difficult than speaking with family or friends. You may be worried that your boss will see your hearing loss as a weakness that could affect your work. So, here are some general tips to use in a conversation about hearing loss with your coworkers:
- Stay positive: Address your hearing loss and tell your employer how you cope with it. If you wear hearing aids, tell him/her about how the advanced technology helps you to hear. And most importantly, point out specific times when your hearing was particularly good on the job.
- Ask for help, if needed: After you have pointed out the positives, tell your employers about your challenges and how they can be helped. If you require assistive listening devices, explain how they would work in your workplace.
- Know your rights: Many countries have laws to protect people with hearing loss in the workplace. Read up on what sort of accommodation you are entitled to and be prepared to explain this to your employer in the most non-threatening way possible. If you have noise-induced hearing loss that you feel was caused by your work environment you may also be entitled to compensation.