Hearing impairment, particularly if it has a sudden onset, can be both jarring and traumatic. It can often feel as if you’ve lost part of yourself. Like your old life is gone, and nothing will ever be the same.
You can usually still enjoy all the things you used to love, but in the early stages, it doesn’t feel that way. Especially not right now. COVID-19 has been hard to handle for almost everyone, but when you add hearing loss into the mix?
Things can seem practically hopeless. As the majority of the responsible, intelligent population engages in social distancing, many social venues now sit empty. This has left people with hearing difficulty scrambling to cope without the things they usually rely on for support — social activities, social gatherings, and many of the hobbies they may have enjoyed period to the pandemic.
If you’re among them, let’s talk about a few ways you can cope, both with your hearing impairment and with the virus that seems like it may never go away.
Explore the World Online
Amidst the pandemic, many museums, zoos, aquariums, and other venues have released software that allows users to take virtual, guided tours of their facilities. Entirely from the comfort and safety of your own home, you can explore famous landmarks, see captioned and recorded footage from conservatories, and even view fascinating, speculative documentaries of ancient sites whose original purpose has been lost to the sands of time.
Want to learn jewelry making? Interested in trying your hand at some baking? Curious about carpentry?
You can find hard of hearing (HOH) accessible guides for just about any creative pursuit online, and through websites like Amazon, you can get everything you need for these hobbies delivered right to your door. The knowledge and supplies once solely limited to trained artisans and apprentices have largely been democratized. Better yet, smart boards, vocal recordings, and text-to-speech solutions are growing more capable by the day.
The world is no longer as limiting as it was, which means that if you want to start crafting or creating, you can get started with only a few clicks.
Connect With The HOH Community
Although technology geared towards HOH individuals is better than it’s ever been, there’s still a large gap in modern media for those with profound or partial hearing loss. There’s still a frequent lack of interpretation services, captioning, and transcription. You have a personal stake in this, meaning it’s something you could potentially help with.
You might make a hobby of translating popular children’s shows, lessons for teachers, or even musical performances. It’s something many younger members of the HOH community have been focusing on in recent months. Not only does this provide a strong sense of accomplishment, but it can also be a viable career option.
Perhaps more importantly, it can help you connect with other members of the HOH community — which can, in turn, lead to new friendships and new online hobbies you can share with other people who are going through the same struggles as you.
Plants don’t need conversation to thrive. You don’t need to be able to hear in order to care for them. And maintaining a garden can be incredibly calming and comforting.
Maybe you just want a few flowers by the windowsill. Maybe you’re looking to grow some fruits and vegetables in your backyard. Or maybe you want to go for broke and put together a full-fledged greenhouse on your patio or back porch.
Either way, if you let your green thumb shine, you might be surprised at the results.
The best content creators and influencers all have one thing in common. They fill a niche. And in the HOH community, there are plenty of such niches to be filled — we desperately need more HOH influencers, from social media moguls to YouTube and TikTok stars.
History is littered with famous hearing-impaired composers, artists, actors, and more who were hard of hearing. Some we know about, such as the notorious Ludwig Van Beethoven. Others are less obvious, like Millie Bobby Brown, one of the breakout stars of the wildly successful Netflix show Stranger Things, who was born with partial hearing loss in one ear.
It’s not easy to grow up with hearing impairment or to struggle with it at any age. But seeing more hearing-impaired individuals thrive can help a great deal. After all, just because they can’t hear, that doesn’t mean they can’t make themselves heard.
Hearing loss is hard enough to cope with in ordinary circumstances. During a global pandemic, it can seem next to impossible. The best you can do is find ways to keep yourself occupied, and above all, remember you aren’t in this alone.
About the Author:
Pauline Dinnauer is the VP of Audiological Care at Connect Hearing, which provides industry-leading hearing loss, hearing testing, and hearing aid consultation across the US.