On December 2, we put the Hearing Loss Challenge out to Newfoundland and Labrador – wear earplugs for one hour, or more, to gain a better understanding of the communication barriers experienced by someone with hearing loss. We received wonderful feedback on this awareness initiative, here we present the Hearing Loss Challenge: Your Stories.
We asked people (including our staff here at the Association) to share their experiences, and how they felt during the challenge.
Hearing Loss Challenge: Your Stories
Canadian Hard of Hearing Association – Newfoundland and Labrador
“I put my earplugs in while in my car when I arrived at the grocery store. The first thing I noticed was I didn’t hear the ‘Click’ sound my car door makes when I open it. At first, while I walked across the parking lot, it seemed peaceful because the snow was falling and everything seemed quiet. When I walked across a high traffic area of the lot I felt very nervous and looked both ways more than usual before crossing because I was afraid I wouldn’t hear a car coming. Once inside the store I had to ask a staff person a question, she worked in the deli and was a distance away from me. So when I got her attention by waving my hand at her she said something, but I couldn’t hear her. I was afraid to call out to her to get her attention because I felt I couldn’t control the volume of my voice. When the staff person was talking to me I had to pay very close attention to her mouth movement because music and machines in the store overpowered her voice. While walking around the store I noticed I couldn’t hear the other carts approaching so when going around corners I bumped into several people. When I stopped to look at something I noticed a person behind me and I had to move for them, they probably said excuse me but I didn’t hear anything. This was a very eye opening experience, literally because i definitely depended more on my vision. – Brittany
“I did not hear when people approached me and was startled a couple of times to find someone standing behind me. I also noticed that I was looking at people much more when they spoke to me, some might even say i was staring.This challenge was definitely eye opening in terms of communication challenges people with hearing loss face and what I can do to communicate more clearly”. – Maren
“I’m in a hallway and there are several people speaking around me – I can’t keep up with the conversations because I need to be looking at people when they are speaking, and my head feels like it’s moving around on a swivel. I try to focus in on each person as best I can – but I know I’m missing things”. – Alison
DC Design House
We were so pleased when our friends at DC Design House were the FIRST to enthusiastically come on board to take the hearing loss challenge.
“I felt more isolated and less in tune with everything going on around me. I often jump in on things to mitigate issues, but couldn’t quite hear what was going on around me”. – Denise
“I wore the plugs throughout four meetings and found it challenging not only to hear, but also to control my own volume. My conference call was especially difficult as those I was speaking with who were not close to the phone we pretty hard to hear and I was asking them to repeat themselves”. – Erin
You can read more about their experiences in the DC Takes The Hearing Loss Challenge post.
Western Health – Port aux Basques
“It took considerable effort and concentration to hear what people were saying”
“You really had to give the other person 100% of your attention or you just didn’t get the conversation”
“I did find that background noise and distractions during this challenge decreased ability to focus on what people were saying”
“A great experience overall and glad I took part”
“I took part during work hours. The experience was eye-opening and more difficult than I expected. I felt awkward and sometimes isolated. It was very difficult to hear when multiple people were talking and it was challenging to follow the conversation. It certainly gave me a new perspective of the challenges that people dealing with hearing loss have to face on a regular basis. Thanks for this opportunity!” – Lisa
“I wore the earplugs at home and it was somewhat frustrating for my family because I wasn’t responding when they called out to me. I couldn’t watch the news because I have a child with sensory overload and thus I could not turn up the volume on the TV”. – Sherry Gambin-Walsh, MHA
“Last Friday St. Peter’s Academy took part in the Hearing Loss Challenge. My Physical Education Classes took part in activities designed for students to find alternative ways to communicate, while wearing the ear plugs. Students really enjoyed the activities and definitely have a new appreciation for what it feels like to have some form of hearing impairment. Students in grades 3,4 and 5 completed the activities. We communicated with hand gestures and body language, we watched mouths, and used full body demonstrations to show what exercises we wanted to complete. Students were very engaged!” – Melissa Oates
THANK YOU! To everyone who participated in the 2016 Hearing Loss Challenge
We encourage you to take the challenge at any time. Wear earplugs for 1 hour, or more as you go about your everyday activities to lower the volume and clarity of what you hear and find out what daily life can be like for those with hearing loss.