When your hearing starts to disappear your brain begins to rewire itself to boost your remaining senses. Gradual hearing loss has been described as having the volume turned down, and likened to slowly turning down the lights in a room. However, whereas when it gets darker your eyes begin to adjust to the lowered light, your ears, try as they might can’t do the same. Not without assistance anyway. But what does happen is that you begin to gain a greater awareness of your surroundings via your other senses. Living with hearing loss can give you a unique viewpoint and actually give you a special outlook on the world.
With your other senses heightened, you might feel, taste and smell things more vibrantly, but most likely you’ll develop the skill of observation, the ability to read a room, and to read people. In time you may even be able to skillfully read facial and body expressions to predict where a conversation is going before it’s even happened.
Savouring the little things
When you are able to hear faint or quiet sounds, you really treasure them. Most people don’t really listen to the world. They may hear it, but they don’t listen. Their lives are awash with sounds, but for the hearing impaired every sound is special. This renewed appreciation of the little things can help you slow down and ’smell the roses’, or listen to the wind chimes as it were.
As your hearing diminishes you may need to start focusing on people’s mouths as they talk. If you devote yourself to this task you will develop the ability to read lips. Lip-reading is kind of like having a superpower.
In order to communicate with other people experiencing hearing loss you may want to learn AUSLAN, the Australian sign language. For you and other AUSLAN users it will be like a secret language that only you share.