Hearing is one of the most important senses that we as humans have. It is one of only five senses that we possess. It helps us to make sense of the world around us and to be able to engage socially with other people. Without the ability to hear, this entire process will become that much more tasking.
This may come as a surprise, but hearing loss is one of the biggest public health concerns that we have on our hands at the moment. To give you some idea about the scope of the problem, here are some truly harrowing statistics. About one in every eight people in just the United States alone, who are 12 years or older, have some form of hearing loss in both of their ears. This statistic is based on the standard hearing examinations that happen every year.
When it comes to adults, the rate goes up to about 2 percent when it comes to the age group of people who are between 45 and about 54 years in age. Their hearing loss can be disabling in many instances. The rate of people living with hearing loss goes up even further when we go up the age group. The rate is a staggering 8.5 percent of all adults who are between the ages of 55 and 64. (source)
One of the biggest problems that people with hearing loss experience is a loss of both the quality and quantity of their social interactions and experiences. It is not at all surprising then that a lot of these people often end up depressed and nonfunctional. Exclusion from social interactions and basically living in their own head the entire time can take a serious toll on the person.
This is where a lot of online hearing aid communities may be able to help. When you join one of these communities, you will instantly be able to interact with people that are dealing with the same issues that you are dealing with. That, in itself, is a big thing. Just knowing that there are others out there who are going through what you are going through, can be a great source of hope and comfort. Let us take a more in-depth look at the benefits these online communities can provide you if you suffer from hearing loss.
Sense of Community
As we have briefly touched on before, one of the biggest challenges that people with hearing loss experience is a kind of social isolation. Often, they will lack confidence in their ability to communicate with others through absolutely no fault of their own. Most people do not know how to communicate with people with hearing loss and this can be very frustrating for the hard of hearing community.
With these online communities and forums, however, that fear will dissipate instantly. They are not required to “hear” what other people are saying in these communities since they are online. You just need to be able to read what is being displayed on your computer monitor.
This can definitely lead to an overall increase in quality of life since these people will feel like they are part of a community that understands them. This is a very basic human need that we all have. We all want to belong and for people with hearing loss, this is one of the most difficult things to overcome. With these online communities and forums, they will be able to feel like they matter and that their voices are “heard.”
When a person who suffers from hearing loss goes to a popular site like “Hearing Journey,” or “Hearing like me,” they instantly feel connected to the online community. They will feel represented and also that they matter.
Oftentimes, people living with disabilities do not see themselves portrayed and represented in traditional media. The internet landscape, however, is an incredibly democratizing platform and one where a lot of non-traditional representation has the opportunity to take place.
This feeling of seeing others out there with similar issues being able to make their voices heard is an incredibly empowering one. This simple act of feeling like you are represented in visible online platforms can also greatly increase the confidence of these people.
Tips and Advice
While it is 100 percent true that medical advice should strictly be sought from only qualified medical professionals, there are more general tips and advice that these communities are able to provide to their members.
Hearing aid tips, for example, can potentially come in extremely handy for those who are using these devices. Something as simple as help on how to clean your device properly can be sought in these communities, and, more often than not, help will be offered in these places.
Then there is also just general advice on how to lead your life better with hearing loss. These communities will have tons of people with hearing disorders and their experience in coping with life can really inspire those that just joined the community.
With all things being considered, these online communities can really help improve the quality of life of a lot of people who are living with hearing loss of one kind or another. On top of everything that has been mentioned above, just being able to share your own problems and have people commiserate with you, can be extremely beneficial and therapeutic.