Humor and Hearing Loss

by Laine Waggoner, MA, MS 

Very little is written about the value of humor when dealing with hearing loss and the way it can contribute to communication breakdown. I discovered for myself that a sense of humor can serve as an invaluable antidote to the inevitable stress, frustrations and anxiety that come with the territory. 

People who live successfully with hearing loss must develop  the ability to laugh at their mistakes. This helps to make family, friends and coworkers feel more at ease. Using self-deprecating humor to relieve tension and laughing with others is an expression of kinship or social bonding.

In the support groups and workshops that I lead, I use humor to lighten the atmosphere. I can get away with this because I have been living with my own profound hearing loss for more than 45 years. 

I always get laughs with the jokes and cartoons from “Do You Hear Me?” by Matthew Schneider, a delightful, laugh-filled book of humor for the hard of hearing, by the hard of hearing . (Available from: www.shhh.org and other sources.)

Schneider said he dedicated his little gem of a book to the millions of Americans who are hard of hearing, “because their pursuit of happiness is made much more difficult due to their disability.”     

Here are some humorous “positive aspects of hearing loss”: 

You find you don’t hear what you used to pretend you didn’t hear.

Your friends will trust you with a secret. But, you probably didn’t hear it in the first place. 

People appreciate that they don’t have to talk about you behind your back; as long as they keep smiling while they face you.

You can't hear your partner snoring anymore.

If your home is under the flight path of a major airport.

If the teenager next door digs hard rock with 18-inch speakers.

When you are asked to mow the lawn, wash the car, clean the garage, take out the trash, etc.

“Dr. Humor”, Dr. Stuart Robertshaw, professor of psychology and education at the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse is on a crusade to reduce “humor-impairment” in people. His following prayer is right on the mark:

“God grant me the laughter to see the past with perspective, to face the future with hope, and to celebrate today…without taking myself too seriously

Humor Prescription

Help your body, mind and spirit to maintain and enhance your health. Follow these tips for stimulating your healing endorphins: 

  • Train yourself to be more optimistic by pinpointing  your negative thinking and replacing it with a positive, “can-do” philosophy. 

  • Use the power of self-talk. Tell yourself,  “I’m healthy and full of energy” at least 20 times a day. If you cannot do this on your own, seek the guidance of a counselor or therapist. 

  • Take a brisk walk. For those age 70 and up, at least 20 minutes of aerobic exercise is recommended at least three or four times a week. 

  • Smile and laugh as much as possible. Watch funny movies or TV shows.

  • Sniff or eat some chocolate, a peach or cinnamon.   

  • Try to avoid those things that lower endorphins, such as poor posture, poor physical condition, too little sleep, worry, chronic pain, stress, and negative people.   

  


Laine Waggoner is the Director of HEAR (Hearing-loss Education And Relationships), which conducts support groups, facilitates seminars, and provides private coaching for individuals who are experiencing hearing loss.  Email: LaineWaggoner@dc.rr.com


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