Deafness and hearing loss are a unique experience for everyone, but for those who are single, it can bring great opportunities to develop a stronger sense of character, self-esteem, confidence and happiness.
In this post, Tamara shines a spotlight on the positives of being single and deaf.
Relationships play a significant role in how we define and live our lives. Even applying for a job or filling in a new patient form involves declaring your marital status.
Having been single since my three-year relationship ended in 2013, I’ve had a longer partnership with my hearing aids than a significant other.
This has given me plenty of time to ‘find myself’ and adjust in a fast-paced world, and I strongly believe going it alone has helped me push the walls of my comfort zone far beyond what my 17-year old self – new to hearing aids – ever imagined.
3 ways being single and deaf has made me happier
1. Feeling bolder and braver
When you’re single, there is just you. Although you might have friends and family in your life, you get to make all the decisions.
Over the past few years I’ve been paving the foundations of my life alone – learning to trust that I can make the right decisions for myself, especially for my health and happiness.
For example, moving to London when I was 24 was a very scary experience but it helped me grow immensely. I had to find a place to live, organise the move and start a new job within 3 weeks.
On top of this, I transitioned from a quieter country town to the hustle and bustle of a big city. The sudden change of lifestyle and noise pollution was a tough adjustment. Feeling quite overwhelmed, I reached out to a counsellor, joined a Tinnitus Support group, and connected with Deaf Unity.
I also sought help from a private specialist to get hearing aids that better suited my needs, and my more demanding work and social life.
While this period was tough, I overcame the obstacles to pursue my ambitions, grow personally and professionally, and scale my self-belief. Most of all, I learned how to live with my hearing loss.
2. Freedom and peace
Being single means you have the freedom to do what you want, when you want, how your want and where you want! It certainly makes deciding what to eat for dinner or where to go on holiday a lot easier.
As a single person with hearing loss, I have a huge sense of freedom.
After a long day at work or a weekend of socialising, it’s a wonderful relief to be in my own space where I can take out my hearing aids, switch off ‘listening’ mode and relax into the silence.
This bubble of stillness makes me feel lighter and free, as I don’t have to be on alert, work hard to keep up with conversation, or attempt to fill gaps in sentences when words are snatched away by the wind.
One thing that also gives me a great sense of freedom and empowerment? Solo travel. Every adventure is a step further outside of my comfort zone, and strengthens my belief that having a hearing loss shouldn’t hold me back.
Interestingly, some of my favourite memories are shaped by sound, such as my trip to Pompeii. After a guided tour I decided to wander the ruins without my hearing aids in, and the eerie, weighted silence completely made that experience for me.
3. Self-care and personal development
Best of all, being single offers plenty of time for self-care. I love channeling my energy into my personal growth, my independence and my needs – and this includes my hearing needs.
During my 20s, I prioritised my career, friendships, travel, private hearing aid care, learning about my disability, and saving for the future.
In my 30s, I look forward to expanding my horizons by buying a property, dabbling with DIY, going on more adventures and climbing higher up the career ladder. Crucially, I plan to continue with my hearing care and making the most of the support and technology that I have access to.
To some this may seem self-indulgent, but I believe having more time to look after myself makes me kinder, more compassionate and thoughtful. I am also very socially- and self-aware and feel great empathy for others. I care a great deal for my friends and family and value the time I spend with them.
Of course, being single isn’t all roses and butterflies, but it has helped to shape who I am today – which is a happily independent woman who is accepting of, and coping well with, her hearing loss and making the most of life as best she can.
Are you deaf and single? Or deaf and living alone? Here’s 5 tips to stay safe and well:
- Wear your hearing aids as much as possible. It’s very easy for me to use alone time as an excuse to not wear my hearing aids, but audiologists recommend full-day wear because it allows your brain to adapt to a fuller range of sound and keep up with the demands of hearing every day.
- Stay connected. Deafness can exacerbate feelings of isolation and loneliness, so it’s important to socialise and keep in touch with others. I have found great comfort in joining hearing loss and tinnitus support groups, and building friendships with others in the deaf community. I make sure to check in with friends and family regularly while travelling or spending a lot of time alone. Even a 20 minute call can make the world of difference to my wellbeing.
- Consider getting specialist fire and smoke alarms. If you’re living alone, getting a specialist alarm system can help alert you to a fire using a vibrating device that goes under your pillow, or a flashing light. Most counties in the UK offer a Home Fire Safety Check to assess your home and needs to recommend solutions.
- Install a visual alert doorbell that connects to your phone – making sure it is discreet and does not give away your vulnerability to the public, as this could be a catalyst for thieves and not very nice people to take advantage.
- Ask for communication support when you need it. If you are expecting a home visit from a tradesperson or someone you don’t know well, invite a friend or family member over so they support you and help with communication.
Looking for more support? We’ve made it our mission to improve the lives of deaf people everywhere. Check out Deaf Unity’s projects to find out what we can do for you. If you’d like to get in touch, contact us here.
This article was written by Tamara who works in digital marketing and has a passion for reading, volunteering, eating copious amounts of chocolate, and sharks. She has blogged about her hearing loss and journey to acceptance for the Huffington Post Lifestyle, and is an avid supporter of Deaf Unity.