Hearing loss brings about a drastic change in a person’s life. It changes how they function in daily life and the methods they use to interpret life around them. Their methods may not always be straightforward because each individual’s brain may try to make sense out of it differently and use different ways to compensate for the hearing loss. The most common behavior change among people suffering from hearing loss is that they tend to remain more distracted as compared to others, along with a sense of restlessness that can be observed among them.
People with moderate or severe hearing loss use assistive devices, which help them understand their environment better. For example:
- They use a doorbell system in their homes that come with a blinking light that goes off every time someone rings.
- This system is also implemented in baby devices to let you know by blinking a light that your baby is crying. There are special sound systems to help people hear in theaters, churches, or other places where there is competing noise.
- They subscribe to channels and TV programs that come with closed captions, so they can read and understand.
- Through communication devices that turn audio into written text on the screen so a deaf receiver can know what is being said.
Another major way in which people cope up with their hearing loss is through lip reading. It is an essential way of deducing what is being said and is used by people with moderate or severe hearing damage. People with hearing loss observe lips of a speaker and try to infer the shapes made by their lips to match with the sounds in their head. Lip reading lets them compensate for the hearing loss by allowing them to infer consonant sounds.
Lip reading, along with other techniques, is taught by aural therapists in aural rehabilitation programs, allowing people to compensate for their hearing loss.
Another compensating behavior seen in people with hearing loss is that they try to gain control over the circumstances and situations around them by anticipating difficult situations and avoiding or modifying them. For instance, when calling someone, a person with hearing loss can let the receiver know that he has hearing problem so the other person may speak louder
During face-to-face conversations, a person with hearing loss can ask the other person to talk to them while facing them so they can read their lips.
When going to restaurants, they may visit during hours when there are lesser people there so they can have a quieter environment. They can ask for a seat that is away from all the noise and extraneous sounds. They can also request the staff to write down what they may have to say or ask.
People suffering from hearing loss can also compensate for their inability by communicating with others in sign language. ASL is a widely used sign language in the United States.