Stress Management

A Deaf Perspective

This is no ordinary stress management page. We're going to go into a world that few people are aware even exists. Some people may actually deny it exists. So I'm going to tell you right now:

Growing up deaf -- or hard of hearing -- in a world where most of your family, friends, and teachers expect you to conform to the hearing, auditory-based lifestyle can be incredibly taxing.

It doesn't matter if a deaf person succeeds or fails in this environment. It takes an awful lot of energy to get by in the hearing world. It's physically exhausting, as Dr. Samuel Trychin points out in one of his eye-opening articles.

"Getting by" is something many deaf and hard of hearing people have mastered. I should know. I did it. So did several deaf and hard of hearing kids I've talked to over the years. It's so bad that I've often asked myself: Is it a hearing aid, or a hearing mask?

This is what motivated me to overhaul the stress management page at Deaf Culture Online. If you're looking for all of the general stress management and health/fitness tips that I originally wrote for a wider audience, I've moved them to DrolzFit. If you want to burn stress and lose a few pounds, hop over there and get moving.

But as far as Deaf Culture Online is concerned, I think it's high time we had a stress management page that deals entirely with the hidden world of the deaf and hard of hearing.

With that in mind I've decided to split the resources section into two parts:

1) Articles that shed light on the stressful (and often hidden) aspect of growing up deaf and hard of hearing. If you're new to the deaf perspective and you genuinely want to understand -- or if you're a parent of a mainstreamed deaf/hoh child and you suspect that something "isn't quite right" but your child isn't telling you -- this is where you can get a taste of what's really going on. Warning: Sometimes the truth hurts.But if you read these articles, you'll thank me later. And so will your kids.

2) Stress management tips and resources, including some new ones geared specifically towards a deaf/hoh audience.

This page is not going to be welcomed by everyone. There are those who remain adamant that the deaf must look, talk, and act like hearing people at all times. They're going to hate this. But again, the truth hurts. Only when you face it can the healing begin.

Before we go into the resource section, here's a powerful quote to chew on:

The hardest fight a man has to fight is to live in a world where every single day someone is trying to make you someone you do not want to be -- e.e. cummings

Best regards,

Mark Drolsbaugh

Articles and Resources


Ooh, My Back: A funny (but painful!) article on how to shake the symptoms of Hard of Hearing Tension Myositis Syndrome.

Hearing Loss: An 8-year-old boy starts to lose his hearing... eliciting feelings of concern -- and confidence -- in his father who went through exactly the same thing.

How to Survive Mainstream School: Many deaf/hoh students in the mainstream look like they're doing fine. What you see is not always what you get. Here's a secret peek at how we "fake it til we make it" -- and what we can do about it.

The Cage: A revealing look at the strange stuff that goes through a deaf child's mind as he sits in the audiologist's booth -- and what happens when he returns 30 years later.

Deaf Thanksgiving: A New Tradition: When communication breakdowns occur at one Thanksgiving, a group of innovative deaf adults creates another.

Warner Brothers Hits a Home Run for Deaf Advocates: If you really want the answers, just pay attention and they'll find you. Even at the movies.

Through Deaf Eyes: This is Only the Beginning: Finally -- a realistic, positive, and healthy portrayal of the deaf community. On national TV, no less.

Deaf Again: An Inside Look: A behind-the-scenes look at a book devoted entirely to the importance of accepting one's authentic deaf identity.

The Isolation Myth There's a perpetual myth out there that the deaf community isolates itself from the world at large. Nothing could be further than the truth, and this article shows why. (This isn't a stress-related article per se -- but it's a big relief for parents who have concerns about "losing" their deaf children to a different culture.)


Dr. Samuel Trychin's online course: As pointed out in some of the above articles, Dr. Trychin is the one who woke me up to the fact that stress affects the deaf and hard of hearing population more than anyone might have realized. He's now offering an online stress management course -- geared primarily towards the hard of hearing, but applicable to the general deaf population as well.

Stress Management I really enjoyed this website because it's clear, concise, very informative, and even includes a section on stress management for kids. A great read.

Life Coaching at Alternative Solutions Center: Normally, I wouldn't recommend a service that's based at a particular location (it doesn't really benefit online readers in California to know there's this great office in Maryland, for example). But Alternative Solutions Center is unique in that they provide life coaching not only in person, but also via email, videophone, or telephone. For that, this deaf-friendly organization gets a highly-recommended listing.