January 28, 2013

Don't Hide Your Hearing Aids

Usually, when people are very uncomfortable with a certain aspect of themselves that they spend a lot of time and energy trying to hide it. Perhaps they were bullied for it. Sometimes it just takes one person to make a negative comment about it. Perhaps they want to fit in and not be the only one with this special attribute. But, I would not encourage people to hide whatever it is that they don't like about themselves if it is going to cause them to struggle more.

For example, there are plenty of people who will do everything they can to hide their hearing aids. Some may just refuse to wear them. It is one thing if the hearing aids don't work for you or if you don't like wearing them because they are uncomfortable. But to refuse to wear or show your hearing aids because you are ashamed of them is not a good idea. Trying to hide the problem will not help. It will become worse.

I would never encourage a student who is embarrassed by their hearing aids to hide them or not wear them period. What kind of message would I be sending if I encouraged my students to hide it?

If the hearing aids are shown to help and they decide to stop wearing them, it is going to be even more of a struggle for them in a general education classroom. More accommodations will need to be put in place. They will need to let others know that they are deaf or hard of hearing (which they will most likely not do if they are trying to hide the fact that they wear hearing aids). Communication will become even more frustrating when their friends or people who don't know about their hearing wonder why they are ignoring them or seem to have trouble understanding what is being said. Because they are hiding the fact that they wear hearing aids, they are hiding their real selves. A lot of time and effort goes into pretending. It has got to be exhausting and stressful. I think trying to make a point of hiding it will draw more attention to the real problem: their vulnerabilities and insecurities.

How can one truly relax and be happy if they can't fully accept the fact that they are hard of hearing or deaf?

There are many ways of addressing this problem. One of them is to not ignore it or hide it. The first step is to talk about it. It may take a while, but through discussing it and trying different ways of handling it, perhaps eventually the person can accept it for what it is and can finally breathe and move on.

I encourage those who have this problem to seek others who wear hearing aids or can understand what you are going through. Talk about it. There are wonderful people out there who would be happy to help.

Some places to start:

HLLA http://www.hearingloss.org/

Say What Club http://www.saywhatclub.com/

FaceBook Group, Hear Ya Now (for young adults): https://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/hearyanow/

Lipreading Mom: Show Me Your Ears http://lipreadingmom.com/show-me-your-ears/

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