Starting Over in a New Environment — Blog

The teacher’s voice bounces around the space, making it difficult for me to follow instructions. It’s my first yoga class at the studio near our new winter home away from home in Maui. (Yes, an empty nest can be a beautiful thing.) It helps that the postures are familiar and that there is a mirrored wall on one side of the room, but I have a hard time keeping up with the class despite being right in front, close to the teacher.

It’s frustrating and feels discouraging. I’m used to my usual studio in New York, but I know it will get easier every day, as I learn where to position myself in the room to get the best images and, most importantly, my brain acclimates to the new voices and difficult acoustics. of this beautiful but challenging yoga space.

Woman with hands over eyes surprised.

Trust the process for better communication

Nothing comes easy with hearing loss. But I have learned to trust the process. “This is hard,” I think, but immediately my inner voice responds, “You got it!”

And I do. Over time I have developed the skills necessary to address almost any communication challenge. I just need to be patient, trust myself, and give my brain the time it needs to adapt to the new listening challenge.

To help the process, I will:

1. Self-identify as a person with hearing loss

This makes the teacher speak a little louder or clearer (at least at first) and understand if it seems like I’m doing my only sequence of postures. It’s also helpful if there’s another student in my sweet spot. They might be willing to change a little if I explain why.

2. Refusing to sweat the small stuff

Yoga is about working inward to connect the body and mind. It should help reduce stress, not increase it! While I take my yoga practice seriously, I try to keep it in perspective. Missing a sign or two isn’t the end of the world. When I am in a difficult situation, I remind myself to simply breathe.

3. Use visual cues

The right spot in the yoga room can make all the difference. While it’s great to be candid alongside the instructor, they often walk around during class, so their voice can travel throughout the room. I try to find a central place where I can observe the people around me. From the middle row, even when I’m inverted in downward facing dog, I can still see others moving into a new pose.

4. Keep your eyes open

Warming up poses and finishing savasna can be the most difficult parts of a yoga class. Often, the teacher invites us to close our eyes to ease our transition both into and out of the yoga practice. But taking a look never hurt anyone. If it’s a very challenging space, I can just keep my eyes open. No one should notice if you have your eyes closed anyway!

Yoga and hearing loss, a great combination

Yoga helps me stay healthy and is a great way to manage the frustration of hearing loss. For more tips on yoga for people with hearing loss, check out this article as well as the Hearing Tricks section of Hear and Beyond: Living Skillfully with Hearing Loss.

Readers, how do you handle a challenging new listening environment?

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Book: Hear and Beyond: Living Skillfully with Hearing Loss

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