Gradual Hearing Loss
|Characteristic||Person with hearing loss||Family Response|
|Denial & resentment||Blames others - "I am not deaf, people are mumbling, walking away, not looking at me when they speak". Family and friends often recognise the deafness first. Will not take steps to help themselves. The person with the hearing loss resents those who can still hear well.||The family often becomes annoyed when the person is in denial, will not accept their deafness and will not take steps to help themselves.|
|Slow changes in hearing ability||Constant adjustments to ways of communication||It is irritating to live with change, never knowing whether the person can hear or not|
|Behavioural changes||Slowly withdrawing from hurtful or embarrassing situations. The person doesn't realise they are making these changes.||Families must make adjustments for a person who is withdrawing socially. They must change their own plans or feel guilt because they leave someone at home.|
|Hearing aids||Unrealistic expectations of what a hearing aid can achieve for the wearer. The high pitched whistle is incredibly annoying and means having to constantly tell someone to fix their hearing aid.|
|Mixing with other people with hearing loss||Time spent with other people who have a hearing loss should be a priority. This will give you understanding, questions answered, support and a social outlet in a non-threatening environment.||Having your family attend with you at these functions is an option, but remember for them your hearing loss may have less importance than other things in their lives so these functions can be tedious.|
|Communication adjustments||Communication is two way. While the hearing person needs to make adjustments to communicate with you, recognise that it is two way and you need to accept that you must make adjustments too.||Everyone will need to make adjustments if communication is to be productive|
|Acknowledgement of loss||The first step to living with a hearing loss and get effective treatment and communication is acknowledgement that you have a loss||Accept there is a hearing loss and that adjustments will have to be made|
|A sense of humour||While losing your hearing is a tragedy, being morose about it all the time will not make it any easier, nor make it get better. Keeping a sense of humour can make it easier to accept and deal with. There are many examples of mishearing which, which while often frustrating, can provide many occasions for laughter||Laugh with the person with the hearing loss - not at them|
Acknowledgement: Shona Fennell - Presentation, DIRC Oct-08
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