It's time to unpack the emotional baggage that comes with hearing loss. Today we are going to talk about collateral damage that comes with hearing loss.
At its root hearing loss is a communication disorder. Change does not come easy. But changes in everyday needs with communication is the emotional baggage we carry with our hearing loss.
No matter what you will have collateral damage. How you handle that collateral damage is what we can control both with our hearing loss and so can our hearing partners. One of those tools that helps is our Lipreading Concept Class.
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Hearing Loss LIVE! talks collateral damage with Gloria PelletierJulia:
Good morning, welcome to Hearing Loss LIVE! As you can see, we have Gloria back with us. We think she's going to be pretty regular. We understand the emotional side of hearing loss is much more expansive than just saying, the emotional side of hearing loss. And we feel Gloria has some very in depth, good thought process, processes to help people with their hearing loss, emotional journey. So today, we're going to talk collateral damage. Going to be honest, when when we first talked about this, I was a little confused, I am married to a Vet. And I was like, what? so I want Gloria kinda to go into the layman's terms on why we named it collateral damage, because once you understand, you're going to have some aha moments. And it really will put you in the know. Gloria, can I ask you to kind of explain collateral damage with hearing loss?Gloria:
Julia's correct. It is, was initially a military term. And the soldiers were taught not to bring in civilians into a situation, okay? Because it was imperative that they focus. So when I was looking at all the emotional splash that we have with hearing loss, I realized that a lot of innocent people were getting hurt, because we just were not focusing on where the real issue us. And the real issue is that we need to own our own hearing loss. And then we have to understand what that means, because nobody tells us what it means. So I think the perfect example is when Chelle was at my house, and I have hearing loss, Shelley has hearing loss. And I turned my back, I was walking away from her. And she's "Gloria, you cannot talk when your back is turned to me." And I was like, horrified. Because I should know better, right? I mean, this is what I do. And so it kind of, it kind of gelled with the that. By not-- by turning my back on Chelle, I deprived myself of the relationship that we have. I didn't hear, she didn't hear what I said. I had to turn back around and apologize and do that. But oftentimes, what happens is that people's feelings get hurt, and miscommunication happens. And so what we wanted to talk about today is how do-- how does it happen? What can we do? And what's the positive side of this? It doesn't have to be negative all the time. How can we help communication with our family and our friends? Does that sort of answer the question?Chelle:
This is Chelle. And while I was at Gloria's house, and she walked away, and I told her I couldn't hear her, it's a joke, because a lot of hard of hearing people are not used to being with other hard of hearing people. So you have to work on these communication habits when you're with each other. So she, she actually laughed. I remember her laughing Oh, like it's like a duh moment, right. And then we're in her kitchen and I'm doing dishes. And I said something while I was doing dishes facing away from her, so it was another duh moment, but you know that that is the kind of collateral damage of hearing loss. Hearing people aren't used to being around hard of hearing people and it is extremely hard to change those communication habits, but it's possible. You can reduce those communication mishaps, but it is-- there's-- I gotta let somebody else go because I got a lot to say and I don't want to say at all.[laughter]Michele:
I was just gonna say it's the same thing for me. The first time I tended a support group, people with hearing loss, a convention, I found out I was really bad at giving what I needed. And people would say, you're talking way too fast or you know, you have to slow down. You have to look at me. So it was really enlightening to go to my first SayWhatClub Convention and realize, because I'm not used to being around other people who are hard of hearing that I had a learning curve where that had to happen. And you know, I saw both sides of that as a kid because my grandmother was deaf. And I saw how impatient my mother was with her. And so I learned to be good. It's just I hadn't been around her since I was 18 years old. And she's the only hard of hearing person or deaf person that I knew. So it takes a while to get good at giving what you need yourself.Julia:
I'm gonna say one thing, and I could be totally wrong. So Gloria, you can tell me if I'm off base. But that right there for Michele was collateral damage. And my thought process, I watched sometimes how family treated my grandmother. And it affected my kids. They were not always kind. And so my kids would be who's going to be at Grandma's house because if so and so is going to be there, I'm not sure I want to go. I don't like the way they talk to grandma. It just dawned on me that that showing that way to treat people with a hearing loss is collateral damage, because you're now training your family and younger kids to not - notbe patient with these types of people. Right. And for me, it was the opposite effect. Right? I became overly patient as possible. With not just elderly people, but with hearing loss in general, it's going to take a minute for you to respond to me, it's going to take a minute, we might have to have a couple of different conversations. But I, and I say this, Michele, because I wonder if you know seeing that dynamics, did it affect maybe what you said about your hearing loss in your younger days? Because it made people, a visual for you to see that that caused anger management? Does that kind of make sense? And I don't know if I'm off base, but I'm wondering, that type of collateral damage how, I think it's a question. How do we help stop that? I don't know that we can stop it all I, you know, personality is personality fit. But just the understanding from a hearing partner to not have patience doesn't is causing collateral damage to your hearing loss partner. And possibly those younger around you who will grow up thinking it's a problem, not just something that happens and it's no big deal. It's, it's a problem, I guess is the word I'm coming up with. Okay, I'm shutting up. I, you know, Julia, that's perfect. But everybody has shared perfectly what happens. And what the saddest part of everything that we're talking about is that we deprive ourselves of a relationship. Whether you're the one who's ignoring the hearing loss person, or the hearing loss person isn't acknowledged their hearing loss. We deprive ourselves of the joy of relating to people and communicating. And we deprive ourselves of the things that we might need. So earlier I was talking about, I was given a medication that I was allergic to. But I, me being in the phase, I was I was like,"mm-hm, I understand, I get it. Yeah, I know, I've a little hearing loss, don't worry about it." And I got to the thing, and I was like I'm allergic to it. And I had to, I had to fess up. By not telling my provider that I have a significant hearing loss ad I need CART, I put my provider in a bad place. Because he prescribed me a drug that I'm allergic to. And if I didn't own it, he could have got in trouble. Or he didn't give me the right treatment, because I simply didn't hear it. And I didn't say no or yes or whatever I needed to do participate in communication. And that's what I think is the saddest part is we deprive ourselves the joy, of participation and taking control of our lives and I, I think that we have to own some of that responsibility. Not totally. But we have to say, Yes, I can't hear. Or I only hear partially and this is what I need. And it's an expectation that you provide that. But I'll forgive you, Chelle, if you turn your back on me again [laughter]. So we have to have compassion at the same time to know that people aren't perfect, and they're not going to respond perfectly, and they're not going to respond perfectly every time. And Chelle and I do this for a living and we did it. So there can be joy in knowing that too, because I did laugh. I was like, what, what? What? Glotis. So I really appreciate what you guys have said. And I think this is an important topic. And Julia, earlier, you mentioned the beginnings of collateral damage. And you had a great example, would you share that please? You remember?[laughter] Sorry. The Vietnam vet? No. Oh, with my grandma, with my grandma?Gloria:
Yeah, okay. So I think when we were talking earlier, it dawned on me, well I've talked to a couple of our different blogs and podcasts how grief plays a role, right, with hearing loss, and I didn't understand as a hearing partner. Even though I knew about the whole grief cycle with hearing loss, I didn't understand how it affected a hearing partner. And it dawned on me when we were talking earlier. I call it grief. But really, it was collateral damage. So there, when my grandma-- I spent a lot of time with my grandmother, even when she was older, she was proficient lipreader. So often, I was caught mumbling under my breath, something obnoxious or naughty, or whatever. And she had a derivative snort. "Julia," she would say, while she giggled, and it actually became a thing in the car for us. Like, just before we were going off somewhere, I would say something silly, or sometimes it was just something grandpa might, growing up grandpa would say, "we're off like a herd of turtles." So sometimes it was just something like that. And she would snort because you know, we would have a memory or whatever. And I still vividly remember to this day, doing that, I think we were actually headed to the Shakespeare Festival and making the comment and waiting for the little giggle on the comment, and realizing her hearing was so far gone, even with hearing aids, she could not register I had said anything. And I was devastated. I never told her because the truth is I turned around and looked at the look on her face, and realized this is what the grief lesson is about. Because she was in a stage where she was having to recognize that the hearing wasn't going to come back with hearing aids and what it meant to her. But and I still remember the day I couldn't talk to her on the phone any longer. Even with a caption phone on her end. It just it was. Was new, caption phones were still new. Her internet was wonky, because it was in a different room and there was metal in the walls. So sometimes it worked. Sometimes it didn't. But this is a woman who for years, once a week, we had an hour Converse-- even though she lived like you know, once we moved back to Utah, she lived what just up the street at the zoo. So once a week whether we had family dinner or not her and I had a conversation and that just came to a was almost like overnight screeching halt. And I had to tell her in person, we just can't do that anymore. So let's set up another way but it was hard for me at first. It was very stressful and she kept trying to do these conversations and I'm like, This isn't working. So I think that's what you were talking about. Yeah, there's collateral damage on both sides and you don't think about it and it's different for each party and that's okay. It's, it's learning what that is and working together to minimize it for your family. That's my thought.Chelle:
I just have a little quick thing to add. This is Chelle. You know how we all hate the words never mind. [laughter] I mean, it's a big deal, because that robs us of the chance to participate in the now and we have to wait until later, if they remember right? Most of the time, they don't even remember what it was I'm gonna go I don't know anymore. But one time as collateral damage, one time as Ken came in the room, he didn't get my attention first. So this is a kind of double edge thing here. But he said something to me while I was trying to finish up a sentence on the computer, I remember. And I bluffed. And he knew the bluff look. And he stood up, he stood there, and he pointed his finger at me. And he said, "that's the same thing as nevermind to me." I was like, Whoa, that was, that's really deep. I was robbing him of true participation and our authentic self, right. And, you know, our family members do experience the collateral damage of hearing loss. And, you know, like, I remember, Ken, you know, when I was trying to figure out how to work in the salon, and I couldn't do it, and I was struggling and it was before caption phones. He-- I would come home crying, and I would just throw myself on the bed and cry at the frustration of not being able to do something that I've been doing since I was 18. And him just laying down and crying beside me because he didn't know what to do, either. And because of the hearing loss, I couldn't go to movies anymore. I couldn't understand the dialogue and I would sit there and cry through the movies. I did. It's it's a loss. Movies were huge to me. I mean, I grew up a big movie fan with my my dad and my sister. And Ken felt so bad that he stopped going to movies. I would be like, you know, it's okay, go ahead, you know, I I am not going to hold you hold it against you if you go to the movies, but he lost the movies until I could go back with captions again. So there's, there's a lot of collateral damage that happens with hearing loss.Gloria:
Michele, do you remember the conversation we had I said don't forget to tell us that.Michele:
I do. Um, I had mentioned that I was having a correspondence with an audiologist who was practicing patient centered care. And we were just talking about, you know how the hard of hearing community needs to learn to self advocate, they need to define what their needs are. And she expressed her frustration as an audiologist trying to do it, right. Trying to give people more of what they need to live their life fully with hearing loss. And them still being kind of in a denial stage, and not really being open and receptive to that kind of instruction. So even when audiologists are trying to offer patient centered care, they get some resistance. And you know, I think that's that's part of why the hard of hearing community needs to become a cohesive community, like the Deaf community and Deaf culture. Because we just keep floundering, and I am we, you know, it usually is decades, it was decades for me before I finally decided nobody else is going to teach me how to do this. I'm going to have to teach myself. And, you know, we have to end this huge long time gap before we learn the meaningful things that are going to change our life for the better. One is how how to tell people that you can't hear. Tell them what they need to know about your hearing loss. The other is telling them what you need for communication. You might not even know what you need. When you're new, you don't know what you need, but you have to work and practice defining that. And there still will be times when you don't know what you need. And that's when you say hey, I don't know what I need, just say what's true. Can you help me figure out how this is gonna work? And that thing right there involving all parties who are taking part in that communication? You figure it out together? That's a more meaningful teaching moment, I think than just telling somebody, you know, I need this, this and this. When you involve them it sticks in their brain. So you know, it is it's all all and of course, having hard being hard of hearing myself for most of my life, and going through childhood not being able to hear and not really having any help. I know that hearing loss is very hard for me. And it's the same for our loved ones and other people. But what sometimes our family doesn't understand is, I might be the only person that you have to go an extra mile to communicate with. But in my life, if I'm out and I have a busy day, I might encounter a dozen different people that I have to educate about how to communicate with me. So when somebody tries to tell me its even in that way, it's not because I'm struggling with every communication I have. A hearing person is really only struggling with the, you know, the few hard of hearing people they know, or maybe even just one, maybe just you. But there's collateral damage on all sides. And we need to do better, we all need to do better.Gloria:
You know, I have something I want to say. When you guys asked me to participate in your, in your video conferences, I was so excited. Because it's one of the only places I know where you guys are talking, honestly, about everyday problems. And honestly, how it feels to be there. And your experiences. And I really wish I had had this forum years ago, because nobody talks about the real truth of hearing loss. They can give you the anatomy, your ears don't work, you have little hair cells. And you know, they can give you the anatomy. And that's what we hear. But we're not really talking about the real truth of hearing loss and how it affects people, and how it affects our relationships and how it affects our communication, which is relationships. And so when we're talking and I have to, every time we have one of these podcasts, I learn so much. I might have an idea. And then you guys are sharing. And I'm like, yes, yes, yes, yes. And so it's kind of like, I'm very happy that your organization is willing to do this. And thank you, I want to thank you guys. Because I know it takes a lot of time and a lot of effort. And you put it in, and you're helping us. You're helping those of us who have hearing loss to establish relationships. And communication. Can't have a relationship if you don't have some form of communication. So I really wanted to put that, put that little plug in there. Because it's so vitally important that these communications happen. That we share, like Michele said, we're sharing our experiences so everybody can learn. And when we have that level of respect, and communication, I think everybody benefits and it gets to be a real joy. I mean, when I listened to Michele, I know Michele has, you know, no hearing. And I'm listening to Michele talk. And I'm like,'yes, yes, Michele, yes." And if you didn't want to put the time and effort, you might not know how wonderful she is, and how great her perceptions are. And the same with Julia. Julia hears, but her experiences enrich my life. And of course, Chelle and I laugh all the time about our hearing loss. But if we, if we don't if we've people who have hearing loss, isolate, and I did, I did, if we stay in that protective shell and we don't take a chance that maybe we are misunderstood, then we never have the joy of experiencing other people and expanding in our lives. And yes, there will be collateral damage. There is anyway. So at least we're taking some control of that by acknowledging it happens. And we can mediate that and say, oops, sorry, I turned my back on Chelle [laughter]. And I didn't hear anything you said and I know you didn't hear anything I said. And we can laugh about it, because it is funny. I mean, if you think about it, it's hilarious that two people who have hearing loss are doing the very thing that we get mad about. So that was kind of what I was so happy to hear you guys talk beforehand. And I don't want to dominate this conversation. But I wanted to tell people that, you know, we can have the joy of communication. And we can have the joy of correcting miscommunication. And we can have the joy, that there might be collateral damage, but we can control that if we know what's going to happen, or could happen. And we can be proactive, and make that a better place for everybody. And that gives us more of a sense of control. Because when we lose our hearing, we lose a sense of control. And when we take an active participation, and say, I'm going to take a chance, and I'm going to communicate, I'm going to try to and I love what Michele says, Can you help me with this? I'm lost, this is what I need. We do involve other people. And once we do that, we have established communication, right? It becomes a two way street. And then they have ownership. Oh, I'm part of this. And so, you know, we can minimize the collateral damage that we see happening. Chelle.Chelle:
I just kind of mention, is there a term for collateral damage in a good way?Gloria:
Because a pandemic started, and oh, my gosh, that threw us. All into upheaval, I mean, hard of hearing, people were having an extremely difficult time because a masks and not being able to lipread and we all lipread to some degree. But you know, and the good thing from the pandemic was, is that it made us go online, it brought more of us together. And for the hearing loss people, we had Google Meet, which was the first online platform in my knowledge that had decent captions. We could meet online and have a casual conversation, thanks to Google Meet with captions. Now, that's, that's another little collateral damage thing that I just thought of is we lose casual conversation. I can't talk to Gloria while doing dishes. You know, I can't talk to my husband while he's cooking at the stove, with hearing loss. And he's experiencing it now too. So there's the damage. So the good thing about the pandemic was that it brought us online and it brought more of us together. And, you know, surely when you were talking about I was just thinking about this. I remember you turning around when you were doing the dishes looking at me. And I was like, yeah. And we can use laughter to bring ourselves closer to each other. Yeah, that's collateral damage. But we can use the absurdity of it sometimes to bring us closer together. And we could you know, we could have started dancing, or we could I could have went over and said, Chelle! Chelle! Just have some fun with it. And that's when we we build our relationships? We don't take it too seriously. We have some fun with it. So yeah, I think collateral damage can actually cause us to grow and become better communicators, and better relationships, because we have to work at it. And so, you know, I think it how it helps us to find a communication on purpose with intent. And then it helps us to have more respect for each other. And it's not a one way street. You're just respecting me because I have hearing loss and no, we're respecting each other for whatever we have going on. And so yes, I did think about dancing around the kitchen saying, "Can You Hear Me here? Can you hear me here?"[laughter] So, you know.Julia:
Truth be told, I think we could talk all day about collateral damage, right? Hours and hours. And I want to keep Gloria coming back and talking not only about collateral damage, but other, I would like to see this whole series of emotions with hearing loss turn into us depicting what that means instead of just, you know, here's the umbrella, it's called emotional aspects of hearing loss. But here's what happens and why that's important to understand. So I'm just gonna, we're headed into about 30 minutes. So I'd like to see anybody else have a comment or thought before we close it out? I'm going to be real short on my close out. So I want to make sure we get in thought process. Any other comments? Okay, Chelle.Chelle:
I just wondered if we have time for Gloria to talk about how it puts us in unsafe positions with the fire too, just really quick to let people know that there's options.Gloria:
You can go online, and sign up to be notified by your phone, if there's some problems in your community that you need to be aware of. And here where I am, there was a special place for the Forest Service you go in and you can sign up, but you can do that with the police. You can do it for everybody. And this is something I'd like to see everybody in their communities do. Find out where you go, because I don't know everybody's community, right? Find out where you go. You can call the Forest Service, you can call the fire department, you can call and find out where your community and you can sign up and alert you on your phone. So I get a text on my phone and it says, you know, ready to evacuate. But I think Chelle, I think I read that it said every community for Deaf and hard of hearing they have that access.Julia:
Yeah, I know. I know that some states you have to sign up. But it was interesting because when -Chelle and I were traveling, I don't get flood alerts in New Mexico. I've never gotten those before. But we were I was getting flood alerts while we were in New Mexico. And then, but I've never gotten like, storm warnings here. She texted me one day. and like, Oh, my gosh, is that you for some storm? Because Ken had gotten a notice on his phone. I'm like, What are you talking about? It's been storming for hours or something. I don't know. I don't remember all of it. But so I that is a very good, people need to check with their local services, police, fire., if you're in a rural area, your forest department and get signed up for those services if they're not automatic. And some people do have the automatic phone and I know the new iPhone was saying something about everybody will have 911 location if I understood the commercial, right. So we'll see. It'll be good. I, you know. That's very helpful, I think. Any other thoughts? Okay. Alright. Thank you for participating with us today. We hope you look forward to more meetings with Gloria as we depack emotional side of hearing loss. I want to remind you, you can subscribe to our E newsletter and get all the information before it's even available. It's free and we promise no spam with it. That's all we pretty much send out well that in the Talk About It Tuesday link goes out with the E news. So join us for our next Talk About It Tuesday, which I believe is going to be in November. It's always the first Tuesday of every month. Remember to subscribe, like share and join us and if you'd like us, buy us a cup of coffee and buymeacoffee.com. Bye. There are many ways you can help us with our content visit hearinglosslive.com and help us continue to grow.