Coping Strategy is a behavior that helps us to function better in a given situation.
People with hearing loss develop coping strategies for the different listening situations they find themselves in.
Some coping stragtegies are technical:
- Hearing aids are a one technical coping strategy that can help you hear better.
- Assistive Listening Devices ALDs can be one way to hear better when the listener is too far away from the speaker or when there is too much background noise. The use of ALDs is a coping strategy.
- A life saving coping strategy is to make sure you have smoke and CO detectors that set of strobe lights, or vibrate your bed, so you can be alerted even with out your hearing aids or CI on. Some people also use an assistive animal (for example, a "hearing assistance dog") for coping with emergencies and other things.
Some coping strategies are behavioral:
- Visual cues help us to understand what people are saying, One very simple coping strategy is to have people face you as they are speaking. To take that strategy one step further, some wear name tags that say “Please face me, it helps me hear". Everyone "reads lips" (technically called "speechreading") to supplement what they don't hear, but with a hearing loss, being able to see the person's face is a major advantage.
- To help you be able to see those visual cues, you can make sure you position yourself so that the light is best for you to see someone you're talking with.
- Calling ahead and making sure that accommodations will be in place when you arrive, and then going early to make sure you are in the right place and all set up, is a strategy that is built in to planning any event.
- Planning what you are going to say, and what you expect as a reply can also help. For example, when ordering food at a fast food restaurant, make sure you tell them precisely what you want ... and expect them to still ask "Do you want fries with that?" or "Do you want to Supersize that?".
- When someone says something you don't hear well, don't bluff. Give them some useful feedback if possible; don't just say "Huh?". That doesn't tell them what you missed. Say something like: "I heard we were going to a movie, but I didn't hear what time we were going to meet or where".
- Even on things you think you heard well, be sure to confirm with someone you are talking with that you are both on the same page. It often helps, to repeat confirming details, even if you think you got them right.
- Seek out and meet other people with hearing loss ... especially people successfully dealing with their hearing loss; you can learn a lot from them. There's no better place to meet people successfully dealing with hearing loss than through Self Help for Hard of Hearing People (SHHH). Go to that web site and join today. If there's a local SHHH chapter near you (that web site will tell you), then attend the meetings. You'll be helping yourself and the millions of others with hearing loss.
- Don't hide your hearing loss; that's more likely to make you look stupid than it is to actually fool someone into thinking you don't have a hearing loss.
- Having your hearing aids visible, so people know you have a hearing loss is a small thing that can be very effective in getting people to understand that you have a hearing loss. When people know you are trying your best to hear them and doing what you can to hear better, they are almost always much more willing to help. Hearing aids are starting to be fashionable, and they now come in very sleek designs and even bright colors. Some people even turn them into jewelery by applying decorations.
- SHHH also sells little stickers, one inch square that you can stick on airline tickets, medical records and forms when you are sitting in a waiting room waiting to be called. The stickers have an ear with a slash through it, the international sign for people with hearing loss. They alert people to your hearing loss.
Thanks to JB Brown for suggesting this term.