Dear friend of Avalon,
Did you ever watch “Star Trek”? I loved the line in that TV series where they proclaim, “Space. The final frontier.”
I used to laugh when I heard that famous line and shake my head. Then, I’d add my version by saying, “Space is not the final frontier. It’s actually relationships. A relationship is the final frontier.”
Whether you are in a relationship with a partner or spouse, son or daughter, close friend, or coworker, when the Elephant of Hearing Loss moves into your relationship, new challenges start creeping in.
Good communication becomes even more challenging. More importantly, the simple and spontaneous ways of connecting with one another start to fade and may even disappear. It might be more accurate to say that the Elephant of Hearing Loss is really the Elephant of Disconnection.
How is the Elephant of Hearing Loss affecting your relationships?
Four couples and three sisters who live together joined me for the first, live, LIVING HAPPILY EVER AFTER with Hearing Loss Masterclass last week. We went far beyond learning basic strategies for coping with hearing loss. Heck, you can read about that stuff online. But sadly, that rarely changes the way we interact with one another.
CONNECTING, and Communicating Effectively – When YOU have a hearing loss
PROPERLY fit hearing instruments can improve your ability to hear and understand by enhancing what is left of your hearing. But hearing aids cannot restore your damaged hearing. Therefore, using good coping strategies to fill in gaps in your hearing and listening is important. You can find basic tips online. But to truly CONNECT and communicate effectively requires a deeper dive. Here’s where I asked the people with hearing loss to dive first.
Get HONEST with yourself about your unique hearing loss
You are a one-of-a-kind human being. Everyone’s ability to hear and understand is different. So don’t oversimplify or generalize your hearing problems. Chances are, you will NOT fit into a neat, tidy box labeled “Person with Hearing Loss”. The more you (and your family) can learn about your specific hearing problem, the better for everyone. This will require that you find a compassionate and competent hearing care provider who is willing, and able, to take the time to educate you and your loved ones about your unique hearing needs. So don’t do your hearing loss alone. Involve your family.
CONNECT & Communicate Effectively – When speaking with someone who has hearing loss
When someone you know has a hearing problem, communicating with them can be far more challenging than one might imagine. You figure that they have hearing aids so they should be able to hear you. Sometimes they do and other times, they don’t. It’s unpredictable and therefore, frustrating for both of you. General communication tips can be found online but rarely make a difference. What’s needed is for you to take a deeper dive into what makes true connection and effective communication possible. Here’s what I asked the partners to consider.
Look within yourself, first
What do you think and how do you feel about your partner’s hearing loss? There is no right or wrong answer to this question. The more honest you are with yourself, the more likely you will be able to shift how you feel and therefore, how you communicate. Most people feel some compassion for their partner but more often than not, find themselves feeling frustrated, resentful, and resigned about their communication and therefore, their relationship.
You may say NEVER MIND or IT WASN”T IMPORTANT when asked to repeat what you just said.
That leaves the person with hearing loss feeling like they are left out and don’t matter. At a time in your life, when you would hope to be more connected, you find yourselves growing apart and even lonely. By participating in the LIVING HAPPILY EVER AFTER with Hearing Loss masterclass, everyone committed to changing just one thing in how they communicated with one another. But what they really walked away with was the awareness that we, as humans, with and without hearing loss, all want and need to connect.
You might say that several of the participants climbed up on that Elephant of Hearing Loss and Disconnection, and rode out of the class, together, more connected then when they first came into the class!
If you’re ready to connect more and are willing to do a deep dive into your thoughts and actions, book yourself into the next class OR call for a free consultation, and let us help you to hear the best you can AND be connected!
PS: Check our website for the next LIVING HAPPILY EVER AFTER Masterclass for people who wear hearing aids 0R the next GETTING READY TO GET HEARING AIDS Masterclass for people who are looking to invest in their hearing health care for the first time.