Support for Living with a Hearing Loss in a “Hearing World”

 

“Blindness cuts us off from things, but

deafness [hearing loss] cuts us off from people”

(unconfirmed quote commonly attributed to Hellen Keller,

source: Gallaudet University Library)

 

First, a bit about me. I’m a counsellor with an acquired (and sudden) hearing loss. My own experience has certainly opened my eyes to some of the barriers created by a “hearing world”.  As well, I’ve had the privilege of knowing and working with a number of d/Deaf, hard of hearing, and deaf/blind people who have opened up and generously shared with me bits of their lives, their experiences, their worlds.  This, combined with my own personal experiences, has profoundly impacted my view of the world – and my approach to counselling.  For this, I am forever grateful.quill pen image w sea border

I’m happy to be able to offer a written hearing loss-friendly counselling service that gives anyone, and especially people with a hearing loss – who are comfortable communicating through written English – an additional option, one with the convenience and flexibility of being able to write to me any time of day or night, when you need it most! But, please don’t worry about spelling, grammar or punctuation! The important thing is that we can communicate in writing.

People with a hearing loss face all the same struggles and

life challenges as hearing people but with the additional

challenge of exclusion from fully participating in the world

 

In contrast to Hellen Keller’s experience, these days, Deaf culture and Deaf community provide many Deaf people with a full sense of connection and belonging. Unfortunately, there isn’t really an equivalent for people who are hard of hearing and communicate orally.  It has been said that hearing loss can be the most lonely “disability”.

Whether your experience includes difficulty participating in the work force, enjoying music, meeting people, making friends or missing out on jokes around the dinner table, living with hearing loss in a hearing-centric world can be painful and challenging. Relationships can be strained. You might even feel marginalized and excluded by your own family and community. And as with many invisible disabilities, most hearing people often don’t understand what it’s like to live with a hearing loss and how simple choices they could make might help to include us in day-to-day life.

There are many different types of hearing loss and the experience can be varied. Ability to hear is often dependent on the situation (you may hear better in quiet environments, or with certain seating arrangements, and worse after a bad nights sleep). A lack of understanding from hearing people can result in hurtful comments such as accusing you of having “selective hearing”. You may feel embarrassed to keep asking people to repeat themselves, especially after the sting of being told, “Never mind”. Anger, frustration, low self-esteem, and a sense of shame or rejection are common – and understandable.

Not surprisingly rates of depression, anxiety, grief, and social isolation are more common in people with a hearing loss. The good news is:

You’re Not Alone!

Online counselling can help

from the convenience and privacy of your own home

 

Counselling can help with many life issues, including depression, anxiety, learning new skills, and making social connections.  As a counsellor with a hearing loss, I hope that you will feel comfortable sharing with me your story, your struggles, your goals, and your dreams.  I’m here to offer you support and an ear to listen – when you need it most. As a professional counsellor, I may have knowledge, skills or resources to share with you. But, I always believe that clients are the experts on their own lives, their own experiences. I am your partner in brainstorming and helping you begin to create the life you want. Unlike traditional in-person counselling, you can write to me any time, day or night.

You may be happy to know that a number of studies have found online counselling to be as effective as face-to-face – but with the advantage of convenience, flexibility, and ability to reflect and re-write your thoughts, among other benefits. (Click here to learn more about other benefits or here to read about some of the research.)

Have a look around my website (and click on the following links) to learn more about:

Or if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me through any of the following methods:

  • Phone me at 604-771-4444  (If you have any simple questions that are NOT of a confidential nature, you can also send me a text at 604-771-4444)
  • Write to me through my secure, encrypted online counselling system, click here. You’ll need to register and login (no charge for this).
  • You can also click here to e-mail me at lorraine.irlam[at] hushmail (dot) com. But if you wish to discuss anything private or confidential, I strongly recommend that you sign up for a free encrypted e-mail account at hushmail.com (If you use your regular e-mail account, messages you send to me are not encrypted, although my replies to you from my hushmail account are.)

        And any time you feel ready to begin online counselling, click here to get started.

I look forward to hearing from you!