hearing loss and family members
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Families are one of the most important parts of the lives of many of
us. If our family is supportive, it can be an ongoing source of strength
and encouragement that extends to all parts of our lives. On the other
hand, if our family does not support us, the resulting discouragement
can pervade other aspects of our lives.
Family dynamics are generally difficult, and continuing vigilance is
paramount in maintaining healthy family relationships. Frequent and
thorough communications are required.
Because hearing loss often has a devastating negative impact on
communications, relationships involving hard of hearing, late deafened,
or oral deaf persons are
often more of a challenge than relationships that lack this additional
complication. In an ironic twist of fate, these relationships that are
so impacted by communications difficulties often require even more
communication to be successful. Here we explore the impact of hearing
loss on common familial relationships.
A person's relationship with her spouse is usually the most important
relationship of her adult life. About half of these relationships end in
divorce, and a surprising percentage of those that endure lack the
happiness that a marital relationship promises. The addition of hearing
loss increases the challenge to the marital
Right up there with spousal relationships are our
relationships with our children. Always a complex relationship, the
parent-child relationship is often further complicated by hearing
August 2010 - Couples dealing with Hearing
June 2010 - HLAA
Convention: What is Being Said? What is Being Heard?
December 2009 - Study Finds Family Members Play
Critical Role in Addressing Loved Ones' Hearing Loss
August 2009 - An Open
Letter to My *Hearing* Friends
April 2009 -
Children Speak Up: A Parent's Hearing Loss
November 2008 - BHI Urges Families to Help Loved
Ones with Hearing Loss Address the Problem This Holiday Season
February 2007 - People Who "Get It"
November 2006 - Arlene's Tips for Holiday
October 2006 - Here's a great
synopsis of baby boomers' hearing loss, how it's affecting their lives,
and what they're (not) doing about it.
October 2004 - Suppose
a person with hearing loss often asks a family member, friend, coworker,
etc. what a particular noise sounds like - ok to do or an invitation to
problems? Read what Denise Porter has to say about this.
September 2004 - Laine
and Rex Waggoner spend a lot of time teaching people how to maintain
quality relationships in the presence of hearing loss. This article,
entitled, "Growing a Healthy 'Hybrid'
Relationship" sort of sums it all up!
May 2004 - Jan Christensen is a professional
writer who has a hearing loss, so she writes very clear and informative
articles about hearing loss. Here's here article about
how hearing loss affects family members.
December 2002 - Dreading that
holiday party? Here are
some (tongue-in-cheek) tips from Randy Collins on how you can
survive the ordeal.
June 2000 - Dr. Eric Maisel has written an article entitled
"How to Talk with Your Family". The
article is intended for a general audience, rather than specifically for
people with hearing loss. But it is very applicable to families that
include a member with hearing loss.
More on this and related topics
back to "New to
By Denise Portis
Editor: I'm on a bunch of email lists that focus on hearing loss, and
I often see postings that I want to share with all of you. I always seek
permission before doing so, and most people are very gracious about
granting it; Denise Portis has done so every time I've asked, so you may
remember other articles she's written.
I was going to comment on the several lessons in this story, but I
decided that different people may see different lessons. So, without
further rambling, here's Denise!
Earlier this week I was talking to a friend of mine while outside
work after classes. We were just talking about unimportant trivia; the
kind of chit-chat that co-workers/moms/teachers tend to find themselves
talking about when they find someone who "gets" them.
Some geese flew overhead. I spotted them immediately as they were in
my line of vision, and I had already looked up to watch them fly by.
However, my friend pointed and said, "My! Aren't they noisy?"
Without skipping a beat, I said, "Explain to me what they sound
like...." Her face immediately turned ashen and her lip even
trembled as she grabbed my arm and wailed, "I'm SO sorry! I didn't
even stop to think!" Well, honestly I couldn't have been more
surprised! "EXPLAIN TO ME WHAT IT SOUNDS LIKE" is a common
phrase in my household. I ask it all the time!
If my hubby says, "gee the microwave sounds funny".... I
say, "Explain to me what it sounds like...." (I don't ask for
detailed description as he might do something AWFUL like take it apart
to pretend he can fix it!)
On a hike with the family when first arriving in Maryland, my son
pointed to a Baltimore oriole (his first ever) and said, "How
pretty they sound!" I said, "Explain to me what it sounds
When my daughter says her cats purr sounds like it has a cold, I say,
"explain to me what it sounds like...."
I say it all the time! I don't mean anything by it; simply put....
EXPLAIN TO ME in words. There are so many things I can't remember WHAT
they sound like, even though I know I've heard them before.
I've been using the vacuum cleaner since I was a kid (wasn't my mom a
slave driver?). But I can't hear the vacuum cleaner today unless I lay
on the floor and "hug" it. (Don't laugh! It's what I do after
it is explained to me what it sounds like! I can still FEEL!)
So my friend's watery eyes and quivery lip took me by surprise! I
squeezed her arm and said, "Sandy, I'm not upset! I automatically
ask for an explanation in words. You didn't do anything wrong! Be my
ears -- EXPLAIN IT TO ME."
So.......... she did.
Frederick County SHHH