As someone with moderate hearing loss myself, I have always been told it’s ok to hide my aids underneath my hair and no-one will see it so I won’t need to worry about what people will think of how I look wearing hearing aids…
Whilst I was growing up as a child, I found the whole concept of wearing hearing aids really hard to bear, and so as I had so much hair anyway, hiding them seemed the best solution and so this is exactly what I did, so most people didn’t really know I had any hearing problem unless I told them.
However, I really feel now that maybe this wasn’t the right thing to do as it pushes all that negativity and anxiety under the carpet, which is probably why it has resurfaced in the front of my mind as an adult. I didn’t deal with the anxiety well back then, and I ended up tuning it all out for many years, and had gotten used to life as it has been with its limitations, and to be honest, I didn’t think twice about it anymore as I thought “this is who I am”.
Through hiding and not talking about what I was feeling, I made the decision at some point early on to put limitations on myself on what I could achieve due to my hearing loss, and I didn’t want to make my life harder than it needed to be. So I lived my life feeling limited by my hearing loss, and I didn’t push or challenge myself to do the things that are really hard and scary, the things I thought I couldn’t do with my hearing loss, to face my fears and try and find a work-around solution. The fact that I didn’t feel comfortable talking about this part of me really did have a knock on effect on my confidence and self-esteem over the years without even realising.
I didn’t want to make a big thing of it at work as I was worried about being discriminated against, so I kept quiet about it most of the time and didn’t get any extra support that could have helped me. I have always had to manage it on my own, and this is what I got used to. I really worked hard at school, and especially for the things I loved to study at school, like foreign languages. The ironic thing is the subjects I loved at school are subjects that are a big challenge for people like me with hearing loss, but the fact that I loved learning foreign languages really helped me to succeed, and I mostly had very supportive teachers who I am really grateful for.
The truth is that there is no need to hide the hearing aids under the hair, so for those of you, both adults and kids, growing up now with hearing loss like myself and my daughter, I would say just expose your aids, and allow yourselves to let feel those feelings you have about your hearing loss and get proactive on a regular basis and find ways to reward yourselves with love and self-care, and incorporate regular mindful activities into your daily routine that can give you relief from those negative feelings and take you to a different place in your mind doing something calming, uplifting or joyful. This could be music, meditation, art, gardening, reading, having a warm bath, going for a walk or being outside in nature, buying a small bunch of flowers, the list is endless, just do what makes you light up, something you love to do or experience that is soothing on their mind and makes you feel good inside. It has to become part of their daily routine.This also applies to anyone who has any kind of anxiety relating to any other special educational need, health issue, chronic disease, or parents and people in general who lead a stressful lifestyle. Anxiety has to be managed daily.
Don’t let yourself or your kids feel embarrassed to have hearing loss, there is no need to feel ashamed or embarrassed by your scars and to dream big – this is YOU. You are unique. Choose to live your life with hope, with positivity, dream big, as this is what’ll really help you or your kids to feel good about themselves on a regular basis and help to manage and calm down any anxiety.
Mindfulness isn’t difficult, we just need to make a conscious effort to do it and realise that our needs are important too. Sometimes, you just need to create your own sunshine even if life gets cloudy, and learn to love yourself without being so attached to the idea of being loved only by someone else.