GAINESVILLE – July 31, 2022 – Hearing loss is a natural process as you age. Unfortunately, there’s also a stigma around it that is amplified in much of the media around us—even some suffering from hearing loss echo this sentiment. What is most important to remember is that you are not unusual, but rather, more unique. While the hearing loss community is made up of people suffering from the same challenge and struggle, just like people that are going bald or have grey hair. That doesn’t mean that hearing loss is a disability or a defect, it is a part of who you are, especially when born with it, and it is everywhere.
In the case that you are on the more prominent side of hearing loss or completely deaf, many people rely on sign language, which is its own language just like French or Spanish – not something alien to society.
Deafness comes in varying severity, which comes with different terminology such as “deafened,” “deaf,” or “hard of hearing.”
People outside of the Deaf community need to show support for those that are inside by using terms with positive connotations. For example, in a recent interview, CEO Jim Ayala said that his son, who is deaf, participates in theatre doing both on-stage theatrics and behind-the-scenes lighting and audio. In addition, his son participates and excels in sports and academics in many different ways. Hearing loss is just another cool characteristic, but it’s essential to understand that your hearing loss doesn’t define who you are, what you do, or what you can achieve.
There’s a stigma around hearing loss that prevents many people from seeking out the proper treatment, postponing treatment, or even refusing to acknowledge their hearing loss altogether. But the fact is that this stigma comes with a cost if you are one of those types of people suffering from hearing loss in silence.
The impact of not seeking treatment or even acknowledging your hearing loss altogether places both your mental and physical health at risk. Here’s how you can ensure that you’re not allowing your hearing loss to define you.
Remember that you hear with your brain. As someone with hearing loss, you’re constantly expending an incredible brain processing power just to be able to pay attention and listen. You’re not alone. This is something that most people living with hearing loss seem to forget, but they’re not alone. Surround yourself with a community of others living with the struggle and experience that comes with hearing loss, and you’ll see that it’s not your identity.
You can have more fun.
Always remember that hearing loss and the stigma surrounding it to the outside world isn’t something to be ashamed of. Celebrate it. Discover the fun in your own life, whether it’s sharing jokes or just not allowing hearing loss to limit your ability to make the most of your life.
No matter what stage of your hearing loss journey, it’s an experience that only makes life more interesting. It’s not a disability or an identity that defines who you are, what you can or cannot do, and more. Remember that always, and know that we’re always here to help you achieve your full potential.