When you realize for the first time that you are losing your hearing, or that your child is hard of hearing, you may feel all kinds of emotions. While a licensed therapist of psychiatric medicine can help you get through some of the more negative feelings, it may be a good idea to join a support group as well. There are plenty of support groups available for hard of hearing adults and children, and parents of children with hearing problems. Here is what you can expect at your first hard of hearing support meeting.
Only Other Adults, Children and/or Parents of Children with Hearing Difficulties Are Allowed
They do not allow just anyone into these support meetings. Only people who have a hearing problem, children with hearing problems and parents of children with hearing problems can attend the meetings focused specifically on their particular group. For example, support groups for young children with hearing difficulties can meet and spend time playing together so that every child can see that losing some or all of your hearing is not the end of the world. While the children play together, the parents often have some time to interact and talk about the challenges they have faced or are facing. These meetings are closed to anyone who does not fit into this group, which helps keep the communal support discrete.
Meeting Locations May Change, but the Support and Group Members Typically Remain the Same
Most of the time, your focus group support meetings will remain at one location. Sometimes there may be more than one meeting each week that you can attend, in case you cannot make the first meeting of the week, and these additional meetings might be at a different location. Regardless of where the meetings are, the level of support you receive and many of the group members remain the same, which can be very comforting if you are particularly new or nervous about support groups.
You May Share or You Can Just Listen
Most new members to the hard of hearing support groups tend to linger and listen. That is perfectly okay, since everyone in the group knows that you (or someone you love) cannot hear very well and/or may not be ready to share your own story. As you get used to the order of things at the support meetings, you may become more comfortable with asking people to speak louder or enunciate clearer, and because it is a hearing support group, no one should be upset with you for asking. Eventually, you might want to share what you are feeling, your personal challenges with not being able to hear or having a child or loved one not hear you, etc., and then you may be surprised at the return support you get from the group.
For more information, get in touch with a support group, like Supporting Success for Children with Hearing Loss.