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Dilemma Game

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1

TV Testing

TV Testing

Your family often complain that when you watch TV it’s too loud. They tell you that they can hear it from other rooms, that they can’t have a conversation with you if the TV is on, or that they don’t want to watch TV with you because it’s too loud. They may have even told you that you’re losing your hearing.

You don’t think the television is too loud. If you think about it, though, you have noticed that when you turn on the TV after someone else has been watching it, you always have to put the volume up.

How would you deal with the situation?

Suggestions

  1. Self-test – See if you can watch TV on the volume that everyone else does.
  2. Compromise – Turn the TV down lower than you would like, even if that is still higher than your family would like.
  3. Make a note to ask your doctor about your hearing at your next regular check-up.
  4. Or...
2

Out to Dinner

Out to Dinner

You and your spouse go out to dinner with a group of friends. It’s a Saturday night and the restaurant is very crowded – and noisy. You’re having trouble hearing people a few seats away from you, and it’s difficult to keep up with conversations.

At first, you ask people to repeat themselves, but after a while you begin to worry that you’re annoying your friends. By the end of the evening, you’ve started zoning out because you can’t follow what anyone is saying anyway. You’re worried about seeming rude or uninterested, but it’s too hard to follow the conversations and the evening leaves you feeling tired.

How would you deal with the situation?

Suggestions

  1. Suggest a different restaurant next time, one you know is quieter, or a night of the week when you know it won’t be as busy.
  2. Ask your spouse to repeat important details for you.
  3. Seat yourself at the table nearest to the people you want to talk to.
  4. Or...
3

From the Next Room

From the Next Room

You have been using hearing aids for a while now, and you feel that your communication has improved. It isn’t like it once was, but you have an easier time following conversations and communicating with friends, family, and at work.

Your spouse, however, does not think that the hearing aids work very well. They often still try to talk to you from a different room, and will say that you aren’t listening or that your hearing aids aren’t working when you don’t respond. They also get annoyed any time you need something repeated, even if you only ask once or the room is very noisy.

How would you deal with the situation?

Suggestions

  1. Bring your spouse to your next appointment and have your hearing care professional explain the hearing aid’s limitations.
  2. Agree that they need to have your attention before they begin talking to you.
  3. Work out strategies for times when you know you’ll have trouble hearing them.
  4. Or...
4

The Audiogram

The Audiogram

You’ve recognized your difficulty hearing for a while now and decided to finally get it checked. At your appointment, your audiologist conducted an audiogram and showed you a bunch of different measurements. You don’t really understand the measurements, but the message was clear: You have a hearing loss.

Your audiologist has recommended that you get a hearing aid. This makes sense to you, but you really don’t feel like you have enough information to make a decision.

How would you deal with the situation?

Suggestions

  1. Prepare a list of questions for your next appointment.
  2. Ask friends of yours who have difficulty hearing how they have handled their personal situations.
  3. Do internet research on the type of hearing loss you have been diagnosed with and see if there are any recommendations you can discuss with your audiologist.
  4. Or...
5

Nutty Professor

Nutty Professor

You are working on your degree at university. The experience has been mostly positive: The university offers different options for communication support, there are hearing loops in the classrooms, and the buildings are new and have good acoustics. Many professors have also reacted positively to wearing a microphone for a radio aid.

One professor, however, is less supportive of your needs. He often wanders away from the hearing loop, causing you to miss out on parts of the discussion. You’ve asked him to wear the microphone for your radio aids, or pass it around during discussion, but he has told you he “isn’t comfortable” doing this.

How would you deal with the situation?

Suggestions

  1. Sit close to the front of the room so you can hear the professor better and read his lips.
  2. Ask the university for a note-taker to attend the class so you don’t miss anything important.
  3. Drop the class for now and take it next term with a more supportive professor.
  4. Or...
6

Burger Joint

Burger Joint

Your family often orders hamburgers for dinner on Sundays, and you usually go to the local drive-thru to pick them up. The drive-thru "order box" is difficult to understand. When they read your order back to you, you can't determine whether or not they've said the right things. This means something in your order is usually wrong.

How would you deal with the situation?

Suggestions

  1. Bring another family member along to place the order.
  2. Ask people in the car behind you to help you place the order.
  3. Avoid the drive-thru and go into the restaurant to place your order.
  4. Or...
7

The Technology Isn't Working

The Technology Isn't Working

You recently admitted to yourself that you’ve been having trouble hearing and went for a hearing test. Sure enough, the audiogram showed that you have a moderate hearing loss. Presented with the evidence, you agreed with your audiologist’s recommendation that you should try hearing aids.

You were fitted with hearing aids, but they are very uncomfortable. Every noise sounds louder, so you can’t hear what’s important any clearer than you could before you got hearing aids. You’re frustrated by not being able to hear, but you’re equally frustrated with the hearing aids, and the hearing aids spend more time in the drawer than on your ears.

How would you deal with the situation?

Suggestions

  1. Talk to your audiologist. They may be able to adjust the levels or offer you different hearing aids.
  2. Explore communication strategies that you can use with your hearing aids to make noisy environments easier to cope in.
  3. Join a support group of other hearing aid users – they may have advice.
  4. Or...
8

Teaching Your Friends and Family

Teaching Your Friends and Family

Even though your friends and family are fully aware of your hearing loss, they don’t always keep habits in check that make it difficult for you to follow a conversation. You know they don’t mean to ignore you, but when a group is talking all at once, it’s hard for you to participate. You’re worried about annoying them, and you often feel tired after spending time together. You feel like you have told them over and over again that you can’t understand them when they talk all at once, or if they look away from you, but they still do the same things every time.

How would you deal with the situation?

Suggestions

  1. Keep reminding them about your hearing problems – if you interrupt often enough, they may get the hint.
  2. Talk one-on-one with a friend. It may be easier to change behavior in a group one person at a time.
  3. Send everyone an email with a list of ways people can help you. Remind them of the email anytime communication gets difficult.
  4. Or...
9

Should I Tell My Colleagues?

Should I Tell My Colleagues?

You’ve been having difficulty coping with noise at your office. Any time you have a meeting with more than two people, it’s very difficult for you to follow the conversation. There have also been misunderstandings where coworkers thought you were ignoring them because they spoke to you when you had your back to them. You didn’t realize they were addressing you.

You have recently had your hearing tested and it has been confirmed that you have a hearing loss. While you’ve been told that you could benefit from a hearing aid, you’re worried that your coworkers will think that it makes you old and incapable of doing your job.

How would you deal with the situation?

Suggestions

  1. Tell your coworkers that you are getting hearing aids and how they can help you (and them) in conversations.
  2. Get the hearing aids but only discuss them with your colleagues if you are comfortable doing so.
  3. Talk to either your boss or a trusted colleague about what situations are most difficult and how you can adapt to them.
  4. Or...
10

Hearing Loss is Natural

Hearing Loss is Natural

You’ve noticed that you have been having trouble hearing in different situations and asked your doctor about a hearing test. It was confirmed that you do have a hearing loss, but you were told that it was “normal for someone your age.” You understand this to mean that your hearing is normal for your age and isn’t a problem.

Your family, however, disagrees. They continue to nag you about “being deaf” and blame you whenever there are any misunderstandings. There are times when they mumble or assume that you heard them call from another room, and they don't wait to get confirmation that you understood.

How would you deal with the situation?

Suggestions

  1. Talk to your family and friends about when they find your hearing loss to be a problem. Listen to how it makes them feel and see if you can compromise.
  2. Think about situations that are particularly challenging or that seem to regularly cause problems and see if you can work out a way to avoid them.
  3. Set ground rules: Make a list of ways you can make communication clearer, like leaving notes, text messaging, or making sure that your family has your attention before they begin speaking.
  4. Or...
11

On the Phone

On the Phone

Your children are grown up and out of the house, but they are still in contact regularly. While you try to talk to them once or twice a week, you have a hard time understanding them over the phone. You are able to email and text, but it’s not quite the same as being able to hear their voices.

How would you deal with the situation?

Suggestions

  1. Ask your audiologist if there is specific technology you can use to make it easier to talk on the phone.
  2. Try video chatting on a smart phone or computer so you can get the visual cues of talking in person.
  3. Talk on a mobile phone so you can adjust the volume either by using speakerphone or headphones.
  4. Or...

Dilemma

Flip card

Dilemma

Flip card
Dilemma Game

The Dilemma Game is a series of cards that describe possible challenging hearing scenarios for people of different walks of life. There are three possible solutions for each situation, with the understanding that there might not be a perfect solution.

With no right or wrong answers, the Dilemma Game encourages reflection, critical thinking, and strategy to make communication easier for you and the important people in your life.

Card categories

Unaware

Others might think you have trouble hearing, but you haven't noticed it.

Exploration

You may have noticed that you have trouble hearing and want more information.

Preparing

You may have asked others for help or advice about hearing.

Action

You may have asked others for help or advice about hearing. Your next step can be to try different treatments.

Managing

Keep exploring additional technologies and strategies to help you communicate better.

Living well

Continue to adapt to new technologies and situations to maintain your success.

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