Monday, 2 October 2017

Goodbye HOH, Hello Deaf Sleep

As part of my work, I have recently become very fascinated with how Hard of Hearing (HOHs) people sleep. When we go to sleep, we essentially become deaf - meaning we are completely oblivious to all sounds (in my case I am).

Specifically, the differences between how HOH kids sleep versus HOH adults. This brief article will be based on my personal experiences as I haven't heard all the stories out there about HOH sleeping patterns. I'll start with the kid version of myself.

This isn't me, but I like to think I was that cute once. (Photo credit:

Kid Monique (let's assume ages 4 to 18)
  • Night light: I used one until I was well into my teens! Am I embarrassed by this fact? Maybe only slightly. My blinds were your basic shutter blinds - no black out curtains involved!
    • It was essential as I am a visual person and not being able to see my surroundings as a hard of hearing person left me feeling nervous.
  • Heavy blankets: I liked them from the get go. Even though it's not recommended for young kids, I enjoyed them because it meant I could wrap myself in a cocoon - and then eventually kick off the sheets as the night went on.
  • Having mom and dad stay in the room with me until I fell asleep (ok - this only went on until I entered intermediate school, thankfully!)
  • Mom always helped me put away my hearing aids - knowing that they were tucked safely away gave me a sense of security. To this day, I have never ever worn my hearing assistive devices to sleep. It's just way too disruptive!
  • Mom was my alarm clock.
Some really cool tips are presented here for parents with kids with a hearing loss on how to achieve much needed sleep (and actual adult time in the evenings): Tips for establishing a bedtime routine for deaf children.

Adult Monique (19 to current age...)
  • Sleeping mask to blackout curtains! Bring them on! I CANNOT sleep if there's too much light in the room. It acts as a signal for me to stay up. It must be pitch black.
  • I still like the feeling of being cocooned, but my husband does not. Sometimes I even wear my PJ Robe to bed just to accomplish this.
  • I sometimes wish my husband came to bed with me at the same time. Alas, he does not need as much sleep as I do - could it be that I'm already exhausted from the mom life? (read: The shorter your sleep, the shorter your life) So, 90% of the time it's just me going to bed alone.
  • After a day of constant listening (whether it be lecturers or my kids), by 9pm I'm sometimes just done with my listening devices and send them up to the dri-aid.
  • Having a bed shaker or, better yet, a BABY as my alarm clock. The other morning it was 545am... yuck.
Then comes a very interesting question, which I think has been answered by the Limping Chicken: Do Deaf People sleep better at night than hearing people

I think so. It could be that as soon as we take off our hearing assistive devices (a CI, or hearing aids, or whatever), our brain actually gets a chance to embrace the silence and recover from the day's auditory simulation.

Does anyone have any interesting experiences to share? I'm curious!

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