At Hidden Hearing we recognise that hearing loss affects people in different ways psychologically and socially. As hearing healthcare providers, we are involved directly in the study of hearing loss. The IDA Institute is an independent, non-profit organization located in Denmark and funded by a grant from the Oticon Foundation. Hidden Hearing has been actively involved as part of discussion and focus groups within the IDA institute. The Institute creates and shares innovative knowledge to help hearing care professionals address the psychological and social challenges of hearing loss and apply patient-centered care methods.
The overall aim of the IDA Institute is to foster a better understanding of the human dynamics associated with hearing loss. The Institute produces some fascinating studies into how people respond to their hearing loss and to the treatment of it. It has carried out extensive studies with couples affected by hearing loss. This is just one video – http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=q3CnatMNKls#! which provides the perspective of one couple of how they deal with the hearing loss in their relationship.
John and Gill from Colchester in UK. Gill has a profound hearing loss. While John supports Gill, the hearing loss is clearly putting a strain on their relationship. Unintentional irritation, lack of patience, loss of spontaneity and even social pain are well-known and common consequences resulting from hearing loss. The hearing loss is “owned” by Gill, but it is clear that John is also to a great extent affected by it, because hearing loss essentially is a matter of social communication – thus not reducible to kilohertz and decibel.
John tells us that he is “acting as an earpiece” for Gill at social gatherings. This means he has taken over some of Gill’s former communication competences in terms of small talk, social networking and even friendly gossiping. People with hearing loss often experience the loss of social competences as a loss of their own identity. : “I am not the person I used to be”. Gill was very much aware of this.
The video uncovers some of the real problems Gill and John are dealing with. It’s important to remember that if you are suffering from hearing loss you are not alone in experiencing these feelings and problems. Discussing them openly and honestly with family, friends or your GP or audiologist, it will help in the hearing rehabilitation journey.
Anybody who might be concerned about their hearing, can avail of a free hearing test at any Hidden Hearing branch nationwide. You can book a hearing test free of charge at any of Hidden Hearing’s 60 clinics nationwide. Freephone 1800 370 000 or visit www.hiddenhearing.ie.