A Day without Hearing: understanding the social impacts of hearing loss
It’s hard to truly appreciate something that we’ve had since birth. It could be mom’s cooking, your
annoying – yet adorable – little siblings, your house, your neighborhood, or your hearing.
To truly understand the impact of hearing loss, try going a day with earplugs in, and see how your life
changes. You’ll be amazed at the difference.
Probably the first thing you’ll notice is that it gets hard to communicate. People trying to get your
attention might think you are ignoring them. You won’t be able to hear what people say to you and
you’ll have to find another way to communicate.
Body language, lip reading, crude sign
language, writing – these are all helpful.
Remember that many people with
hearing problems weren’t always hard of
hearing/deaf and didn’t grow up
accustomed to alternate forms of
communication. They basically have to
learn a new language later in life – a
The next thing you notice will probably be
the lack of audio-based entertainment.
Whether you like listening to the radio in
your car, listening to your iPod on the way
to school or work, or plopping down and
watching TV or a movie at night – your life
will become suddenly still. And probably
America is so wired these days it would
actually be disturbing for most people for the world to go silent. We are so used letting the world
around us serve as a slight distraction that, when left completely to our thoughts – we may panic just a
People that suffer from hearing loss have to find alternate ways to entertain themselves. It could be a
challenge, but obviously, it’s possible!
Third, eventually you’ll start to realize how important the role of sound plays in our lives. They help
signal, alert, and warn us. Clocks chime the time. Doorbells ring. School bells tell you when class is
over. Your alarm clock gets you up on time. Fire alarms scream for you to get out of the building. Car
horns can communicate everything from a polite warning to absolute fury on the roads.
But what do you do if you can’t hear? Luckily, there are plenty of accommodating pieces of technology
out there – including caption call service. Additionally, most auditory alarms can be replaced with
flashing lights or vibrations – everything from phones to baby monitors to fire alarms. If you’ve noticed,
many public buildings have already switched out old fire alarms with those that both flash blinding
strobe lights and screech dying-duck sounds that make you wish you couldn’t hear so well.
People that suffer from hearing loss have a lot to face – lifestyle adjustments, learning alternate forms
of communication, frustration, a feeling of isolation, embarrassment, and so on. Each case is different,
but each overcome struggle is a great victory!
If you have good hearing, try to appreciate what you have. If you have lost or never had good hearing –
know that people are trying to understand. And with all this cool new technology – things are sure to