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#47 Help Me Hear -

About 60,000 people a year are diagnosed with single-sided deafness. With this problem, it can be very difficult to follow conversations, especially in a noisy environment. This can be a real challenge and leads to exhaustion and frustration. This, in turn, can lead to stress, anxiety, irritability, and headaches. This is the bad news.

Now for the good news. In blog #35 I talked about single sided deafness and  gave some hints on how to cope with it. I’d like to add more tips that have helped me and might help you.

Let others know what the problem is. Some call single- sided deafness a disability, and some call it a handicap. Whatever you call it, it isn’t visible.  Others can’t see it. If we don’t hear someone speak to us, they might think we are ignoring them if we don’t reply. Or even worse, we might guess at what’s been said (you know – fill in the blanks) and make a really inappropriate response. Most people are more than willing to be “on your good side” for a conversation that flows more easily.

Many of the newer hearing aids aren’t visible. This is good, but it has a flip side. It also means that others aren’t aware of the hearing problem.

Relatives and friends, who know us well, know we have one good ear and one bad ear. But they can forget which is our good side and which is our bad side. We might have to remind them.

Reminders don’t always require words. Motions like cupping your ear or leaning closer to someone can act as reminders, but be careful not to get in their personal space (you know, too close). Cupping your ear when you aren’t hearing is less of an interruption to what the other person is saying than asking, “Huh?” or “What did you say?”

Sometimes we need to repeat what we think we heard for clarification. No need to be embarrassed by that. It lets the other person know we are trying hard to listen to what they say.

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Readers: What hints do you have for coping with single-sided deafness? If you share your hint on the contact page, I will include it in a future blog.

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Loving Father,

I ask for sufficient hearing – to hear what you want me to hear and to reply with the words you want me to speak. I especially ask for the ability to hear your voice, to know your guidance. Sometimes my mind is thinking so many things at once, so I ask that you quiet me enough to hear what you are saying to me. Amen.

He says, “Be still and know that I am God…   Psalm 46:10