I’m familiar with Facebook, but had not used forums or regularly read any blogs, and had never signed up to Twitter. The breadth, depth and intensity of the conversation took me completely by surprise.
At an early stage I was struck by the fact that there’s a whole world of groups and interests on social media for people who are deaf, while those with hearing loss or tinnitus seem mostly to get together for mutual support and advice on coping day to day.
As someone who has both hearing loss and tinnitus, I was drawn to the latter groups. They provide safe spaces for people to say absolutely anything about how they feel about their hearing loss and how it affects their daily lives. I found that fascinating and inspiring.
Also, people offer support, empathy, encouragement and advice drawn directly from their own experiences. Anyone newly diagnosed, or struggling for any reason, leaves these sites feeling more cheerful and better able to cope.
When a complete stranger shows understanding of what you’re going through, it boosts your confidence. Following conversations over time, I’ve noticed, too, that as people become more resilient, they get better at helping others. These spaces become mutually motivating and supportive communities in the richest sense of the word. I feel privileged to have had even a glimpse into this world.