We’re all in this together but sometimes it feels as though we’re toughing it out all on our own. This applies to our current environment and also how people with hearing loss can feel sometimes. With social distancing, stay-at-home and shelter-in-place safety measures underway, people with hearing loss are likely experiencing a heightened feeling of isolation and a loss of connection. Luckily, Cochlear Volunteers are here to help connect digitally during these trying times.
Cochlear Volunteers have always devoted their time to reaching out to those with hearing loss to assist them in their journeys. Even now, while we’re practicing social distancing, our volunteers are going the extra mile to be a beacon of light to others who may feel isolated, lonely or stressed. Our dedicated, compassionate and generous volunteers show us that oftentimes adversity brings out the very best in people and if there’s a will, there’s a way!
If you need someone to connect with or if you can provide some reassurance and hope to others, here are some of our volunteers’ experiences and tips. They may inspire you to reach out to offer–or ask–for help during this challenging time.
“I keep track of the people I’ve helped and connect regularly. Now that circumstances have changed, I am using that list to touch base with everyone, prioritizing those who live alone. I had a long telephone conversation today with a recipient who was activated 4 days ago. I will continue to connect digitally with him, and anyone else, as often as they wish via the method they prefer.” –Volunteer Robin of Georgia
“For the past month plus I have been emailing with a Cochlear candidate. She’s 88 and very active and has been a joy to connect with through email. She had finally received her insurance approval. Now she must wait due to cochlear implant surgery being considered non-essential, so this is a very tough time for her.” –Volunteer Jan of Michigan
“Since Cochlear Chapter meetings and meet and greets are cancelled for now, I’m staying in touch with candidates, recipients and other volunteers online by chatting and text messaging. Doing my part.” –Volunteer Deb of Texas
“I recently have started meeting candidates via various platforms such as FaceTime, Messenger, Google Duo, WhatsApp and other apps that provide face-to-face interaction. The face-to-face communication is appreciated by candidates as well as families with cochlear implant kiddos. A win in these days of no actual in-person meetings and a great avenue to build upon connections!” –Volunteer Kathleen of New Mexico
Focusing on others
“I facilitate a weekly pet loss support group at a local veterinary hospital. In order to continue to provide that support to those who are in grief, we are now meeting virtually. The first meeting was telephone only, but the subsequent meetings will be via Zoom. One of the important things we often discuss is how helpful it is to reach out to others to do something for them, however small or large. When feeling stress, anxiety, sadness or grief–even fear–stepping outside of ourselves and focusing on others serves well to help soften those feelings and even bring some joy. So, thinking of even just one person who maybe lives alone, or you haven’t connected with in a while will bring them support, some reassurance and joy that they are not alone, and you care about them. A call, a card, an email, or a text can truly brighten someone’s day.” –Volunteer Robin of Georgia
“In addition to reaching out to other recipients or candidates, I have started a list of people I know–family, friends, co-workers–to keep in touch with and I am adding to the list daily. It’s up on my bathroom mirror for easy reference and a can’t-miss reminder.” –Volunteer Robin of Georgia
Making time for a smile
“Kaci is participating in our neighborhood zoo animal hunt for the kids.” –Volunteer Connie of Wisconsin
“I have been posting daily pictures of my Cochlear bling, typically with uplifting stories or inspirational writing. These posts have been on the Cochlear Implant Experiences Facebook page. From these posts I have created bonds with some new people. I reach out to them daily via Messenger to make sure they are ok. When I see someone is struggling, I offer to send them bling. I have a 9-year-old who has messaged me daily since isolation started. She was one of my first recipients of my bling. She had been bullied at school. Now she proudly shows her off her cochlear implant. During this isolation time I’ve had her read a book to me via video chat and I’ve given her assignments to do. I’m so blessed to have these people, all of them, in my life. Just so grateful.” –Volunteer Amy of Illinois
“We rise by lifting others.” – Robert Ingersoll
Our Volunteers show that there’s help available and, with so many new ways to connect digitally, caring people are virtually all around us.
If you want to connect with someone who has been in your shoes and can provide support and encouragement, check out our Connect With a Mentor site.