Coming to terms with hearing loss can be an overwhelming and frightening process. Many people feel worried and alone after they are first diagnosed with hearing loss. Even with the support and love of family and friends, hearing loss is a scary thing. One of the best ways to cope with hearing loss is to utilize the many different kinds of support groups that exist. Accepting hearing loss is an important step in managing and treating it, and support groups can help!
In-Person Support Groups
In-person support groups can have a huge benefit in helping you cope with hearing loss. It is important to connect with others who have hearing loss, so you can share your experiences, trade tips, and perhaps even get involved in shaping the future of hearing technology. Meeting people who are going through the same struggles can be invaluable in facing your own hearing loss.
The Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) runs the largest network of support groups in the United States. The HLAA has many state and local chapters that are headed by volunteers that have training and direct experience with hearing loss. HLAA chapters offer support and strategies for managing hearing loss and are also instrumental in pushing for new technologies, advocating new laws, and spreading hearing loss awareness throughout the country.
Another large, national network is the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (AG Bell). Like the HLAA, AG Bell runs chapters nationwide. Adults and children alike are welcome, and the chapters aim to provide support and increase awareness of hearing loss and early intervention.
Online Support Groups
It is easier to connect with people all over the country and around the world thanks to technology and social media. Perhaps you’re nervous to attend in-person meetings, or there is not a support group available in your area. The internet offers many, many alternatives to in-person support groups. Most hearing loss associations have online communities, where you can explore forums about many different hearing-related topics and chat with other people without ever leaving the comfort of your home. Some support groups you can access are:
- DeafandHoH.com: Started in 2008 by Senthil Srinivasan, who felt too closed off by his hearing loss. DeafandHoH offers a bustling online forum and a weekly “Open Chat Night”
- Action on Hearing Loss: This is a UK-based community with several forums on tinnitus, deafness, and hearing loss equipment
- HearingAidForums.com: Many in-depth discussions on different kinds of hearing aids, as well as on hearing loss in general
- Hard of Hearing (Reddit): This forum has hundreds of users who post questions, hearing aid reviews, funny hearing loss stories and more
A diagnosis of hearing loss is often a scary thing. It doesn’t have to be scary, though—having a support system of friends, family, and others with hearing loss is a huge help to managing your hearing loss. Online and in-person communities can assist you in learning how to live with hearing loss, finding the best hearing aids and equipment, and show you how to continue living your fullest life. If you feel even a little bit overwhelmed with your hearing loss, find a support group today!