Hearing Loss and Relationships

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Hearing Loss and Relationships

“Families. Support structure or battleground? Do they help or hurt? Most normal families probably do both. What can we do to improve our family environment; to help those closest to us better understand our needs and feelings; to add our constructive efforts to the enrichment of our basic community unit? We can begin by educating ourselves and then our families.”

— Howard E. “Rocky” Stone, founder of HLAA and author of An Invisible Condition: The Human Side of Hearing Loss

“Blindness cuts us off from things, but deafness cuts us off from people.”

— Helen Keller

“Hearing loss does not just affect an individual, but also one’s family and friends.”

— Michael A. Harvey, Ph.D., psychologist, author of Listen with the Heart: Relationships and Hearing Loss

“The reason communication is so important to us humans is that we are all primarily social beings. We are dependent on other people for basic survival for the first few years, if not a decade, of our lives and for many of us much longer than that. This survival dependency is at the root of our need for being part of a group of other human beings.

“The need to belong to a social grouping is built into our genetic structure, and we react physically as well as emotionally to any threats of being cut off from other people. These emotional reactions do not initially occur at the conscious level, but are subconscious reactions and can be very powerful. Cutting oneself off from other people can produce major problems because of this inherited physical and emotional need for social contact, approval, and support.

“People pay a heavy price for self-imposed isolation and so do their family members and friends who would otherwise enjoy their companionship. The price can be measured in terms of the negative physical consequences of cutting oneself off from social connections, missing out on interesting or educational experiences, and curtailing opportunities to experience personal achievement and satisfaction.”

— Sam Trychin, Ph.D., psychologist with a hearing loss

There is More to Hearing Loss than a Hearing Aid or Cochlear Implant

Visit one of our chapters nationwide to meet and talk with others who also have hearing loss. Chapters are supportive organizations where people with all degrees of hearing loss come together to share and learn – and where it’s okay not to hear well.