How to Cope With Being Deaf

Being deaf can cause difficulties, but you can continue to function alongside hearing people. Here are some suggestions to cope with a severe hearing loss.

Steps

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    Learn sign language. Sign language is a great skill and usually considered a second language. Being able to communicate through sign language can enhance your life and the lives of others.
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    Learn to lip read. This is another skill that can help you deal with hearing people who are speaking to you.
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    Meet other Deaf people. The Deaf community is known for being tight-knit, with a culture all its own. Make Deaf friends, share strategies and grievances, and enjoy a Deaf-centered culture.
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    Look for help in finding or retaining a job. Working following a hearing loss may be different, but in many cases it should not cause a huge disruption and you can find ways to work around the difficulties.
    • Plenty of services are available for Deaf people. Look to see what local disability services your community has. Options range from education to telephone assistance.
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    Help others help you. Show friends and family how to better communicate with you - by more exaggerated lip movement when speaking, or even learning sign language with you.
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    Try getting accommodations and accessibility equipment. It is okay to be disabled in public, and it is okay to ask for help in understanding others! See what's available to you—from hearing aids to sign language interpreters.

Tips

  • Remember that you can still drive in most countries if you have a hearing loss.
  • There is no need to feel embarrassed or ashamed that you are deaf. Many people live and function normally with deafness. It's a challenge, but not un-defeatable.
  • If you learned to speak prior to losing your hearing, you should be able to continue to speak and be understood.

Warnings

  • Lip reading is not a perfect tool, even advanced lip readers may only get 30% of a conversation. Don't be hesitant to ask someone to repeat themselves or write things down!
  • Not all Deaf/ Hard of Hearing people use sign language, and still fewer use it as their first language.

Article Info

Categories: Building and Maintaining Self Confidence | Deaf and Hard of Hearing