After one week, the results for my survey have become clear. The results can be found below. There is only one surprise for me: I have published the same survey in Dutch and in German. And there are probably some differences per country how you experience your hearing impairment.
Question: What does my hearing impairment mean to me?
I feel excluded 19.44% (7 votes)
I’m living a full life 16.67% (6 votes)
I feel impaired 13.89% (5 votes)
I don’t feel impaired at all 13.89% (5 votes)
I feel isolated 11.11% (4 votes)
I feel insecure 11.11% (4 votes)
I feel lonely 8.33% (3 votes)
I feel handicaped 2.78% (1 votes)
I feel special 2.78% (1 votes)
Total Votes: 36
In the English-speaking area, with 36 participants, exclusion came first with 7 voices, full life second and restriction third, shared by the feeling of not being restricted at all. On the 4th, 5th and 6th place were insecurity, isolation and loneliness. The last part was shared between “I feel disabled” and “I feel special”.
In the German-speaking area, there were 20 participants and “I feel impaired” was ranked first with 5 votes. Followed by “I feel isolated”, insecure, special and excluded. Two votes for “I›m living a full life”, followed by “I feel disabled” and “I feel lonely” with one vote. None of the participants felt handicaped at all.
In the Netherlands there were 93 participants and 26 votes in favour of “I›m living a full life”. But 21 voices also showed that participation in full life is not entirely unlimited. Insecurity, loneliness and isolation came in 3rd, 4th and 5th place. Finally, “I feel disabled” was elected by 2 votes.
In addition, I would like to mention a few important feedbacks:
– I feel impaired because I have to make a lot of effort to hear well, sometimes I feel lonely because I often have to take all the measures myself to be able to participate. Sometimes I feel excluded when a video is shown without subtitles.
And yet I fully participate in life (and occasionally collapse).
– I feel impaired in my hobby to make music together with others. One on one I can still have good conversations, but in companies where people talk to each other or where there is a lot of background noise, I hardly understand anything and I feel limited and sometimes lonely and sometimes excluded (while the environment unconsciously does that).
– Of the suggested answer options, I have chosen “special”. “Every person is an individual, every person is exclusive, so every person is special. “Special” in the negative sense is when by the different hearing barriers can arise as a result. You are quickly labelled a “nerd”.
– I would like to choose enriching options.
My hearing loss has given me an awful lot.
My eyes see a lot.
My touch gives me valuable non-verbal knowledge and information.
Thanks to my hearing loss, I have a wonderful business.
What does this mean for you?
In short: without knowing the background of the participants and the nature of their hearing loss, it can generally be concluded that many participants participate fully in life, but often face limitations, insecurity and loneliness.
Although there were more participants in the Netherlands, it seems there is a somewhat more negative trend with regard to the hearing impairment in the German and English-speaking regions.
In my opinion it would certainly be exciting to have this subject investigated further in a scientific context.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the participants and everyone for all the feedback!