Empathy is the ability to understand another person’s feelings or experience (Oxford University Press, 2020).
During the Covid-19 lockdown we have found ourselves confined to our homes with limited social interactions and many people feeling isolated; a feeling that they may not have often experienced before. We may be struggling to adjust to the new ‘normal’ where Zoom and video calls are the only way for social interactions which does not really fill the emptiness. Humans yearn for interactions and connections with one another; however, Covid-19 has placed a great obstacle in our way. It has been a time where many people have begun to understand what it may be like to feel isolated and disconnected, a feeling many of our patients who are hard of hearing experience daily.
These unprecedented times may have taught you to empathize with those around you for whom social interactions do not come easily. It is my hope that lockdown has taught you to empathize with people who have felt isolated during and before the Covid-19 lockdown was implemented.
Hearing loss can contribute to social isolation. With increasing hearing loss, hearing can become a very complicated and challenging task. It is very common for people with hearing loss to start to avoid social gatherings and withdraw from conversations whether they consciously choose to or not.
I hope that the lockdown has opened our eyes and challenged us all to become more inclusive, understanding, empathetic and patient to those around us.
Oxford University Press (2020). Oxford learner’s Dictionary: Available at: https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/american_english/empathy
– Anne Budden