What is Your Hearing Loss Word of the Year? — Blog

Every January, much of the world pauses to start again. It’s a new year. A new opportunity. A new opportunity for happiness and hope. Some people make resolutions (I will exercise three times a week or eat less fried food), but many of them abandon them after a few weeks. A more successful strategy may be to choose a theme or word for the coming year that signifies a certain focus rather than specific behaviors.

A word is flexible as new opportunities and challenges arise. And because these are concepts rather than specific actions, they can be inspiring rather than seeming like a chore.

Using the words of the year to implement change

Popular words of the year include critical focus areas such as health, friendship or love. Other words like enthusiasm or boldness are more experiential. Even a simple yes or no can be the word of the year. In 2020, mine was yes, and despite being stuck at home during the pandemic, I took on several new and exciting projects, including filming a documentary about hearing loss and co-authorship Hear and Beyond: Living Skillfully with Hearing Loss.

Whatever word you choose, it will apply to all aspects of your life, including your hearing loss. Here are some examples.


It seems like every month a new study comes out that links the importance of healthy hearing to overall health. The last one, published in The Lancet Healthy Longevity, showed that adults with hearing loss who used hearing aids regularly had a 24% lower risk of premature death than the group who never used them. Last years ACHIEVE (Assessment of Cognitive Health and Aging in Older People) showed that treating hearing loss reduces the risk of dementia in older people with other risk factors. If you want to improve your overall health this year, start with your hearing. The first step is as simple as taking a hearing test. Then, if you have hearing loss, do something about it.

Friendship love

Close relationships with friends and family can bring joy and meaning to our lives. And because communication is the glue that holds these relationships together, hearing loss can take its toll. Your friends and family may mistake your misinterpretations for lack of interest, rudeness, or even hostility. Help deepen your personal relationships by being open about your hearing loss this year. Sharing personal challenges with others builds intimacy and gives you the opportunity to be better communication partners.

Cheer up

Are you avoiding activities you used to love because your hearing loss makes it difficult to enjoy them? You are not alone. But with self-defense you can overcome many communication challenges. Instead of opting out, rearrange the seating at a dinner party for more ear-friendly seating or ask the restaurant to lower the music volume. Stating our needs with positivity and specificity opens the door to possible solutions. This is not being selfish. All participants in a conversation benefit from better communication.


Will this be the year you wear your devices proudly, announce your hearing loss at the beginning of every meeting, and boldly request accommodations for every event you attend? Maybe not, but you can start moving in that direction. Take the first step and the next may be easier than you expect. If we don’t ask for the accommodations we need, we almost certainly won’t get them.

Happy new year!

I wish you all a year full of promise, purpose and success, especially with your hearing loss.

Readers, what is the hearing loss word of the year?

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Book: Hear and Beyond: Living Skillfully with Hearing Loss

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