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Loss of Hearing Is Most Isolating Disability

DEAR ABBY: I am a 32-year-old late-deafened adult. I have been deaf in my right ear my whole life, but lost my hearing in my left ear after a tumor was removed when I was 27.

I guess they are right when they say we are never fully prepared to lose things we have taken for granted for so long. I still have trouble communicating with people. I have taken a few sign language classes and four lip-reading classes, but I often feel like I'm no longer part of normal society.

My question is, shouldn't I have adjusted by now regarding how people see me, since I have been without hearing for so long? -- HEARING IMPAIRED

DEAR HEARING IMPAIRED: I have been told that the most isolating disability is being unable to hear. Please do not burden yourself by feeling you "should" have adjusted faster than you have. There is no set timetable for adjusting to any disability.

Because you feel stuck in the process, the Hearing Loss Association of America (hearingloss.org) may be helpful because it sponsors support groups in many states. Please check it out.

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