Although hearing loss is a common ailment in the United States, many people with hearing loss often feel isolated and alone, especially when they don’t know other people with hearing loss. The advent of social media has made it a lot easier for people with hearing loss to connect with each other around the country and form communities all over the globe. Check out our previous post about connecting with hearing loss, and keep reading to find out more about how the Hearing Loss Association of America and other hearing loss support groups are facilitating connections across the country.
About the HLAA
The Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) is the nation’s leading organization that represents people with hearing loss. Their mission, as stated on their website, is “to open up the world of communication to people with hearing loss by providing information, education, support and advocacy.” The HLAA’s core goals are education, advocacy, and self help. The organization is dedicated to erasing the stigma of hearing loss, and to providing help and resources to people with hearing loss and their families.
What Can the HLAA Do for Me?
Perhaps you’re wondering how you can best utilize the HLAA and all the resources they offer. If you’re old-school, the HLAA publish a bimonthly periodical called the Hearing Loss Magazine. The magazine tells real-life stories of people with hearing loss, informs readers of the newest hearing loss technology, and gives updates about the HLAA’s efforts to change the future of hearing loss. The HLAA also offers monthly education webinars, or online seminars, presented by key people in the hearing loss field.
If you’d rather go digital, the HLAA’s website is a great resource for people who have been recently diagnosed with hearing loss. The site offers hearing loss support specialist training, an online learning program that teaches basic knowledge of hearing loss to consumers who want to learn about the available resources. The site also offers information on hearing technology and financial assistance for such technology.
The HLAA is all about building support communities for those with hearing loss. They have state and local chapters that you can join—find the one near you! Joining an HLAA chapter can connect you with nearby people who have hearing loss, creating hearing loss support groups where you can share your experiences, advice, and technologies. The HLAA also has a training program for adults with hearing loss and parents of children with hearing loss, wherein participants learn more about hearing assistive technology and how to train others to use their devices.
Beyond the HLAA—More Hearing Loss Communities
There is a wealth of other online communities for those with hearing loss. Deaf and Hard of Hearing is relatively new, founded in 2008, and offers blog posts and live chats to connect people with hearing loss. Hearing Journey is tailored to people with hearing loss and who have cochlear implants, allowing people to share their journey with others. Healthful Chat is a chat site with a chat room specifically for those with hearing loss, in order to “meet, greet, share and support with others around the world.”
Although hearing loss can be a difficult and isolating diagnosis, it doesn’t have to be that way. There are many online and in-person communities that will connect you with people around the world sharing your experiences. Take advantage of these opportunities to connect and learn from the entire hearing loss community!
By: Elena McPhillips