Legend has it that from the time they first suspect a hearing problem, people typically wait 7 to 10 years before actually doing something about it. That’s a decade—a tenth of a century—of deteriorating communication. Seven to 10 years, wasted!
Research shows many reasons why people delay, including a belief their hearing is not all that bad and they can live with it, that it would cost too much to treat, hearing loss is low on their list of health priorities, or they simply don’t know where to get help. (AARP/American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA): National Poll on Hearing Health, 2011)
But unaddressed hearing loss has side effects. Years of poor communication take a toll on self-esteem, relationships, and overall health. It also gives a person time to develop bad habits. Sam Trychin, the renowned psychologist, public speaker and writer on hearing loss issues, wrote in his Mental Health Practitioner’s Guide (1987): “The majority of people who are hard of hearing have had a gradual loss over a number of years. For them there may not have been a distinctly recognizable crisis period, but they have had a long time in which to develop and strengthen a variety of bad habits, such as bluffing, which can be highly resistant to change.”
So, what are some of these bad habits?