May’s story – life during COVID-19
"I'm not the only one who feels left out and anxious due to unforeseen communication difficulties."
“It currently seems to me rather ironic that the advice for us all during this pandemic is to ‘stay at home’, to ‘social distance’, even to ‘self-isolate’. I totally agree, and comply with the advice however this is the type of behaviour that so many of us with hearing loss are usually struggling day in day out to overcome! Now everyone is experiencing the distancing from family and friends, the shrinking of social lives and challenges to daily interactions with colleagues and others. For me, the isolation I feel is increased due to my inability to just lift the phone to speak to people, to have a spontaneous, easy conversation.
As with everyone I am relying more and more on text based communication and/or video connectivity. The necessity of wanting to see the faces and hear the voices of my family is pushing me explore all the digital ways available to keep in touch. To just phone isn’t an option for me because my speech recognition is so poor I cannot understand what is being said to me unless I can lip read. Speech to Text software for Apps and video-conferencing helps. I am finding keeping in touch a constant struggle.
I have always enjoyed peer support from others who are deaf. During this lockdown I am relying on social media a lot. Other people with hearing loss posting on Facebook or tweeting are a huge source of advice and support; I know I’m not the only one who feels left out and anxious due to unforeseen communication difficulties.
I am lucky to live in a small village where folk always greet each other when we meet. I currently miss even these casual exchanges. Due to distancing I find it hard to lip read, and when masks are worn it is impossible! I am still trying to find solutions to these problem, especially with service/health providers who need to keep safe too. I anticipate us deaf people are going to continue to experience more unexpected communication problems as we all seek to stay safe during this pandemic.
However a walk away out deep into the countryside when it is sunny and the birds singing (yes, my hearing aids let me hear them now!) and wild flowers blooming will always lift my spirits.”
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