I received an e-mail to write a post about what’s it like to live with someone with hard of hearing. Carlos Perla, my boyfriend volunteered to write this post.
What is it like to live with someone with hard of hearing? Well, it’s exactly the same as living with someone with no hearing problem. Except with having to speak louder or repeat your sentences over and over. But more importantly you will learn the deeper meaning of “patience is a virtue.” Not just for the person with “normal hearing” but also for the person with hard of hearing.
It would be a lie if I told you that I have never become frustrated living with someone hard of hearing. Countless times I have had to repeat myself. For example I say, “I think I want some pie,” and her response is, “What you want some fries?” I know it sounds funny but imagine having to deal with this every single day. It is very simple for the frustration to build not just for me but for Alicia as well. I imagine this holds true for others in my position. However, like with every other aspects of life one must determine if this is a deal breaker or not.
The step I took was to be completely honest. Here is what I said, “The truth is it annoys me when I have to repeat myself. However, I understand that you also share the same frustration. Therefore, our relationship is a ‘joint frustration’ kind of deal. If you agree it is only natural for me to be frustrated then I promise you that I will work on not becoming frustrated.” As mentioned before, I am well aware on the level of frustration that she must be going through. Let’s face it I am not the only person who has had to repeat themselves to her. Therefore, there is a level of empathy that needs to be exercised on my end in order for the relationship to work. I learned early that speaking to her and making sure she captures every spoken word from me is not something she was capable of doing, though I am sure she wishes she could. To put it in a difference perspective, I asked myself, “Imagine asking someone paralyzed from the waist down to climb a flight of stairs without a wheelchair or a ramp.” This is an unrealistic expectation and once I accepted this I began to understand her frustration.
In closing, living with someone with hearing loss is not easy for both parties. However, with a little understanding and love it is possible. The most important thing is to always keep the lines of communication open and not be afraid to speak up if the frustration builds. Not only will it be therapeutic to you but will build confidence with the individual you are living with.