Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Dear Abby Needs to Hear from YOU

Dear Abby PhotoDear Abby answered a letter this week from a woman who felt “trapped” by her husband’s hearing loss. The resulting Dear Abby article is titled “Wife of Deaf Husband Seek to Cope in New Surroundings”. 

The question the column raises for all of us every time we see such a posting is how good and complete was the advice? What did Abby miss that the wife and other readers should know and Abby should consider next time she gets a letter like this? What would you like to say to help the wife, her deaf husband, Norm and the millions like them reading this column?  Your comments can make a difference and you can respond with your suggestions on the same page as the article, by clicking on the title above. 

Reaching Out to Others Photo
Please weigh in with your response to Abby and please encourage other family and chapter members to do the same. It is very important every ONE of us seizes highly visible opportunities like this to speak out so the 48 million Americans with hearing loss know there is real education and support available for them. Your personal experience and support may be the only one that resonates and connects with someone to finally do something about their hearing loss.

You can read Anna Gilmore Hall’s response to the wife attached below. You can read my response to Abby which I also posted on my Facebook page.

Dear Trapped;

Your letter reveals an important aspect often misunderstood by many people when thinking about hearing loss.  The fact is, hearing loss not only impacts the person with hearing loss but their family as well.

The good news is that there are solutions that can go a long way toward helping you and Norm live a more satisfying life. For example, in addition to being sure that you are seeing a good audiologist or hearing aid dispenser and that Norm’s hearing aid and CI are properly programed, there may be additional assistive listening devices that will aid in his hearing in the dining room. There are many good products on the market that can be of assistance in these kinds of listening situations that can greatly enhance his listening.  For more information about these kinds of devices, visit the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) web site With proper assistive listening devices that work with your hearing aid or CI many individuals find that instead of living lonely, isolated lives, they can re-engage in social situations like the dining room or eating out in restaurants.  

And, if he has not already tried auditory rehab program, with a speech-language pathologist, he should.

The other good news is that Norm is not alone. If he gets out of his room, Norm will find that there are many in a retirement community who are also experiencing hearing loss.  There are many other tips that you can use in these kinds of situations and a HLAA Chapter in your area is a great resource for learning about them. The Chapters are a great support system for you and your husband. They may also be able to help you with advising  the staff at the retirement community  about ways  that would not only help you and Norm but many of the other residents living there.

Anna Gilmore Hall
Executive Director of HLAA

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