Sunday, 14 October 2018

8 tools to reduce the stigma of hearing loss.

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Stigma exists in your external environment, but it can also manifest from inside of you in the messages that you tell yourself. Consider making changes in your life to reduce stigma by committing to at least one of the following tools:

Tool #1: Take responsibility for your hearing loss. Accept your hearing loss and resist the urge to deny it. In most cases, your hearing loss is not the secret you think it is. Commit to wearing your hearing aids or cochlear implant(s) every day to hear better. Visit your audiologist for adjustments to ensure that your devices are working well.

Tool #2: Create and adopt new messages about your hearing loss. Get a better understanding of how internal and/or external stigma manifests in your life. Determine which voices in your head belong to you—and which ones belong to other people. Focus on what you can control. If you feel “less” because of your hearing loss, alter the message that you tell yourself by changing “I can't” statements to “I can.” Accept that the hearing loss is one part of you but it's not all of who you are.

Tool #3: Make a list of difficult listening situations. Reflect on each day of the week and make a list of challenging listening situations organized by home, work, and public places. Be specific and note what you're feeling—-uncomfortable, vulnerable, embarrassed, or ashamed. If a situation triggers an unhappy memory from the past, add the memory to your list.

Tool #4: Plan how to talk about your hearing loss. If your hearing aid or cochlear implant is visible, your hearing loss is probably not a secret. If your device is not visible, other people such as your family, friends, and co-workers might not know about your challenges with hearing clearly. In either situation, it takes courage to accept your hearing loss and no small amount of bravery to talk about it. Plan what you want to say. Consider practising out loud with someone you trust.

Tool #5: Ask for accommodations. Technology is ever-changing. Educate yourself about the range of assistive listening devices so that you can identify and request the appropriate technology and accommodations that you need. People in your life may not know what is available or appropriate for your condition. Become the expert, then ask. Learn about not only technical solutions but also non-technical strategies like note-taking buddies at work.

Tool #6: Communicate effectively and comfortably. How you handle your hearing loss will have a direct impact on the people you closely and regularly interact with. Teach the people in your life how to best communicate with you so that you can hear clearly. For example, remind them to face you when they speak. Your hearing difficulties can be as new and challenging for them as they are for you. Ask speakers to repeat their point in a different way. Remember that humour goes a long way to increase comfort for everyone.

Tool #7: Set realistic and meaningful goals. Living well with hearing loss requires change and adaptability. Change happens slowly and requires commitment. Don't take on more than is reasonable and consider your other responsibilities. However, make a commitment to a meaningful and achievable goal to reduce the effects of stigma on your life.

Tool #8: Connect with other people with hearing loss. The challenges of living with hearing loss and ways to overcome them are known best by those who live with it. Consider participating in online forums and connecting with local hearing loss advocacy groups and events to meet people who “get it” (e.g., AG Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Association of Late-Deafened Adults, Hands & Voices, Hearing Health Foundation, and Hearing Loss Association of America, among others). Engaging in these communities and events can help you be yourself and learn from others who understand the impact of living with hearing loss.

The end of deaf sport too?

UK's welfare arm the DWP, to penalise deaf and disabled who participate in sports because it suggests they aren't needing welfare.  We know at the London Olympics, DWP staff were photographing/recording Paralympian participators to see if they could withdraw support to them.  What price Deaflympics?

Did you sign it? Or not?

Image result for standing up to be countedDiscussion on the UK's AOHL site regarding concerns many charities are signing non-critical clauses of state welfare decisions and Ministers, [The 'gagging clause], allegedly to avoid the state cutting their funding, blackmail. Today the majority of UK charities are being coy about declaring one way or the other. The AOHL were asked DID they sign such a clause too?

First response:

"Action on Hearing Loss is a successful campaigning charity and we’ve never had any difficulty in terms of anyone stipulating what we can and cannot say or do in terms of our policy positions and activities. As the largest charity in the UK working for those with deafness, tinnitus and hearing loss, we are committed to representing our beneficiaries and supporters in the most effective way possible to stakeholders across society – including all government departments.  We consider it a vital part of our role to hold those in power to account on behalf of the 11 million people in the UK with some form of hearing loss. For example, when a cap was introduced by the DWP on Access to Work funding – something that would disproportionately affect British Sign Language users - Action on Hearing Loss not only vocally opposed this measure, but worked effectively with other stakeholders and the DWP to have the cap significantly raised."


"But has AOHL signed a no criticism clause?  We still feel you are too close to the corridors of power to remain forefront in attacking state policies towards the deaf and Hard of hearing, We want to see cooperation withdrawn by AOHL from the systems that assault our disablement.  1,000s have lost support and financial aid, and many have the fact they can't hear called into question daily.    We tend to look at the UK's largest hearing loss charity to be prominent in snapping at the heels of politicians and the state who are attacking us daily with no comeback.  I'd like to see AOHL drop the 'support' angle and become a champion of our rights instead.  

I do think ear wax and hearing aid batteries are an irrelevance in the scheme of things.  As it stands it is a self-perpetuating reliance in operation and trivialising the real cause of the issue.  Our support is a legal right, it doesn't need charity to underpin it, we want charities more proactive in putting our case. training professionals in advance, and utilising legal power to fight back.   If AOHL can't or won't do it, we are lost because as individuals we cannot succeed.  The AtW area was/is a shambles whereby it costs 3 times a paid wage to actually do part-time work and it appears the main claimants are just a few lucky people in the (BSL) arts areas.  A new way of empowering deaf and HoH to work is needed. 

As AOHL said itself employers and co-staff alike treat us like village idiots.  We are under assault from many directions and it needs the UK's largest charity to stand up and say enough is enough.  It's NOT enough to add your name to someone's petition etc, you have to lead.  Anyone can sign a petition and anyone can say we empathise, but that alone does not mean anything actually happens.  It's the lazy way to avoid standing up to be counted."

Defeating deafness.

Hearing again after 40 years...

Deaf Children: Look who's talking too!

Sign Language tours of artwork on London Underground for Deaf Awareness Week
These inspirational children defied the odds by learning how to speak after being diagnosed as profoundly deaf when they were just a few weeks old. 

Four-year-old Mia Basma-Saffiedine, from Barnet, and eight-year-old Hope Dennis, from Primrose Hill, were both diagnosed as deaf when they were less than a month old. Hope, who in 2011 became one of the youngest babies to undergo bilateral cochlear implant surgery at just nine months old, was diagnosed three weeks after her birth. 

Now eight years old, Hope has defied the odds by learning how to speak. In 2016, she even told her story to an audience of MPs, experts in hearing and language and sports stars in Westminster. Mum Becky said: “We are unbelievably proud of all that she continues to achieve and the way she shatters stereotypes about the life a deaf child can lead with the right support and intervention.” 

Four-year-old Mia was also diagnosed at just three weeks old. Her mum Rayan, who is also deaf, desperately sought out options to give her daughter the experiences she had missed out on. Mia was fitted with cochlear implants at 11 months old and was “switched on” just before her first birthday – a month after her devoted mum was fitted with implants herself. Ms Basma-Saffiedine said: “I feel so fortunate to be able to give my daughter this crucial opportunity to train her mind to listen in such a natural, fun and creative way.”