A Community of Shared Diversity is Strong

September 2, 2016

A Community of Compassion

A photo by Nicholas Swanson. unsplash.com/photos/d19by2PLaPc

Communities provide platforms for us to share our personal experience, allow us to be heard, keep us from slinking into isolation, and importantly help us remember that we are not alone. The Communities that support both able-bodied and differently-abled individuals remind us of what we have in common, that we share many ties and that these connections can be a powerful!

You might think that your experience lacks the potential for others to relate to. Challenge that belief by communicating and be prepared to be pleasantly surprised.

 

Don’t undervalue your story because you think it is different & doesn’t fit the cookie-cutter-mould:

Perhaps your Hearing Loss was diagnosed after new-born hearing screening, allowing early access to Life altering technologies & treatment? Or possibly your world was turned upside down by sudden or progressive Hearing Loss as the result of an infection or disease like TB or meningitis? Maybe your Hearing Loss was a result of experiencing trauma?

Do not ever discount the power in sharing your own story, the one in which you are the ultimate expert with first-hand experience! How would you describe your implantation experience and your first switch-on? Did you experience a Life changing sponsorship from Bidvest or did you have to do additional fundraising for you or your loved one? Were you educated within a Carel du Toit Centre or did you attend a mainstream school? When did you develop hearing loss? Did it happen gradually or were you born with it?

Yes, details may differ, backgrounds may seem more different than familiar, and at times we might not see much of ourselves in each other but we all have stories which are worth sharing.

 

Don’t be quick to judge paths different than your own:

Regardless of whether hearing loss has impacted your own life or that of a loved one; your experience has value & that value is increased by sharing it with others.

We ought to take care to avoid generalizing or assuming that our experience is the same as other individuals. We should also do our best to not discount or disregard the stories which are difficult for us to relate to. If we remain open minded, we can learn from everyone and anyone!

 

Our Differences can be part of our Strength:

It is important to be able to recognise the differences as well as the similarities. Yes, our stories may diverge on medical details, practical details, ways in which we received or experienced support, and how our emotions were affected along the way.

Acknowledging differences does not necessarily have to be negative or divisive, they provide new insights into our own journey. Allowing ourselves and others to be honest and vulnerable is powerful and has the ability to be transformative.

 

Building a Strong Community

Professionals agree that by communicating our experiences we can create a scaffolding of support within a community that shares the same goal: to Hear now. And Always..

It not only gives others insight your past and present; it allows you to redefine your narrative positively and thereby creating a collective understanding.  In addition, by sharing our stories, we are able to offer a beacon of hope to those who are facing the same challenges.

 

Braving the Fear of Sharing

Realizing that personal of us will need help at some point in our lives is a valuable lesson. Learning how to offer, provide & receive support is a valuable life lesson that will enhance our relationships with others and help shape our identities.

Sharing our journey also opens up the possibility of mentoring which is another vital way that we can instill strength into the roots of a community.

 

Communal Values

Beneath the pain, beyond the defences, self-isolation and other “coping mechanisms” lies compassion. We want ourselves and others to live happy lives.

Some were prepared to don the SuperHEARo cape because they longed to be better connected and communicate effectively. Others might need a nudge.  Either way, the Southern ENT team are here to support you as much as we can.

 

The Challenge of being able to Communicate & Relate:

Southern ENT recognizes that hearing loss affects all of us in some way and we are passionate to be on the forefront against the struggle against hearing loss by actively increasing public awareness. We offer the best hearing technology because we partnered with Cochlear ™ who has almost 40 years’ experience and knowledge in the hearing implant field.

 

Southern ENT encourages all SuperHEARoes to share their stories (if you aren’t already)

- Reaching out and being the mentor that you wish you had!
- Joining a support group
- Encouraging friends and relatives to take prevention seriously. (They can track their Hearing via the Free App HearZA )
- That we are going to face an epidemic of Noise-Induced Hearing Loss due to the Headphone Culture that will only reveal its devastating effects in the years to come. Be aware of it Now!
- Possibly add some support groups?  For Baha:  Baha support group Southern Africa; Atresia and Microtia Support Group South Africa, Ear Community.  CI:

For more inspiration see our South African Super Hearo’s Part I & II & the following organizations offering support

For any information or advice, please call our offices on 011 667 6243

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