What can get in the way?

Some of your barriers to self-advocacy could include:

  • Low self-esteem and/or lack of belief in yourself.
  • Fear of retaliation or upsetting other people.
  • People’s attitudes, e.g. negative stereotypes towards people with a different hearing status.
  • Lack of knowledge and training.
  • Program barriers – rules and regulations.
  • Lack of services and supports.
  • Lack of money.

All of these barriers can be overcome by communicating appropriately with others, by learning to be more assertive, and by identifying resources.

Communicating Effectively

Three Types of Communication

Communication is a process by which we assign and convey meaning in an attempt to create shared understanding (Tkalac,2009). We all have different communication styles and use the following three types of communication at various times, to varying degrees. However, the best style to express your thoughts and needs is assertive communication. This is one of the skills needed to be able to effectively advocate for yourself.

Watch this video about assertive vs. passive or aggressive communication.
  • Assertive communication – The ability to communicate your own thoughts, needs, and opinions in a direct, honest, and appropriate manner without offending or infringing upon other people’s rights (Ota & Price, 2016).
  • Passive communication – A form of communication where the person is unable to convey their thoughts or views out of fear of being confronted by others. Passive communication often involves avoiding eye contact, finding it difficult to stand up for yourself, and rarely getting what you want or need. This communication style can increase the risk of being taken advantage of.
  • Aggressive communication – Focusing on yourself to the point where you ignore other people’s thoughts, feelings, and opinions. Such a communication style is often demanding, hostile, angry, and uncompromising.