Like any health issue, hearing loss can lead to drastic changes in our quality of life. It’s stressful, challenging, and downright debilitating. The increased stress from needing to ask folks to speak up, repeat what they’ve said, or start over again can make us feel lethargic and apathetic. The need for hearing aids when watching television or even just stepping out for groceries can be frustrating, too, not to mention costly. Let’s take a look at five things we can do to improve ourselves when dealing with hearing loss.
“They certainly understand that they’re outsiders in the hearing world, and no matter how good their skills at speaking and lip reading, they may never completely fit in,” writes David Ludden Ph.D.
Not all these things will seem especially linked to being hard-of-hearing, but every one of them can be used as a tool for destressing. In turn, you’ll live a healthier life and — to borrow a current catchphrase — “have more spoons” to deal with the hardships you’ll face from your hearing woes.
Yoga and Tai Chi
Proven sources of relaxation, yoga, and tai chi are designed to work you out in controlled motions which can calm the body and mind. They help to oxygenate you, too, by causing you to move in slow, methodical, and deliberate ways which ease your breathing. If you’ve struggled with moments where your hardness-of-hearing has brought you close to snapping at someone, you should consider pursuing one or both of these exercise routines. Mental clarity and emotional stability are improved through good health, and there are few better ways to see that happen than through this.
“Yoga is widely known for reducing stress, improving flexibility and concentration, and promoting a sense of peace—to name just a few of its possible positive outcomes,” writes Tracy S. Hutchinson, Ph.D.
You can attend a class and get direct tips from qualified instructors. Alternatively, you can look up exercise routines on YouTube; the modern information era has given us plenty of cheaper ways to discover new lifestyles.
Like yoga and tai chi, gardening has a therapeutic quality. There’s a serene grace in helping things to grow and gradually reaping the fruit-and-vegetable rewards. While advanced landscaping is a tough gig, there are many relatively easy things you can grow for just pennies on the dollar that will only require occasional watering once the soil’s been made ready for planting. Spending several minutes each evening tending your crops will become routine for you, and you’ll know that no matter how stressful a day you’ve had dealing with people who mumble, your plants will always be there waiting for you.
We sure are working you to the bone, aren’t we? Lots of exercise in this article. Then again, that’s intentional — get the blood flowing, get those muscles sore, all of it will help you to unwind. Hiking’s great fun, and it’s cheap, too! National parks are generally very reasonably-priced, and many of the local offerings only charge a few bucks for parking. You can wrap yourself in nature, far away from the stress of difficult communication. The sounds of birds chirping overhead and trees swaying with the breeze can both be heard at whatever volume your ears will allow, without the need to ask them to “speak up”. You’ll hear what you hear, and you can leave your aid at home; just immerse yourself in the gorgeous sights of your chosen destination.
“Being in daylight also boosts your mood and that makes it more likely that you’ll have creative thoughts and get along with your fellow hikers,” writes Sally Augustin Ph.D.
Well, at least you can rest your legs for this one. Support groups exist for just about anything you can imagine, so you’d better believe there are plenty of open channels for folks who are hard-of-hearing! You’ve got options here; you can either do this virtually or traditionally. Online support groups, like web forums, are filled with people overcoming similar struggles. They’re a great “sound-off” venue for you to ask questions, seek suggestions, and find all sorts of answers to better living while dealing with the rigors of hearing loss. Brick-and-mortar support groups offer the same deal, and you can discuss sensitive topics in the presence of others who are almost guaranteed to understand. You can probably snag a cup of coffee and a donut, too, while you’re at it.
Painting and Photography
Tell me if you’ve heard this one before: a picture is worth a thousand words. I don’t know that I agree with that on a universal basis; sometimes words are more effective. But broadly speaking? Absolutely. Why not learn to communicate through beautiful tapestries and paintings? Paint to your heart’s desire. Boot up some of those aforementioned YouTube videos to learn innovative artistic techniques, then apply them as a hobby. You can also try your hand at photography. Pristine sunsets are all too fleeting, so capture them and post them all over social media. Bring your phone along, or a nice higher-end camera, while you’re hiking through parks. Take snapshots of all the beautiful scenery. Before long, your loved ones will be commenting on how great you’ve gotten at this, and you’ll be instilled with a creative confidence that will help you to move past the difficulties of your hearing loss.