Have you or someone you know put off a hearing screening because you’re worried about what the results could be?
I’ll admit “yes” to that question…for myself. It’s challenging enough having a hearing loss without being reminded of it when I step into an audiologist’s office. The idea of sitting in a sound-proof booth, putting on headphones, and attempting to hear a series of beeps is nothing short of daunting for me. Number one, I can only hear about 40 percent of those beeps in one ear and 80 percent in the other. And two, with the progressive nature of my hearing loss, I’m likely to see a decline in what I can hear from year to year. It’s like going to the doctor to see how much worse things have gotten.
So I find it interesting that I’ve become such an advocate for getting hearing tested. A few things have convinced me that knowing where my hearing stands is a must:
1) The only way I can get help for my hearing is to seek it. Repeat after me: Audiologists are our friends, not our enemies. Otherwise, I would still be without hearing aids, asking every John and Jane Doe to repeat themselves 20 times ’cause I didn’t catch their mumbling. Go to the doctor, get that hearing test, and find out if everyone really is mumbling.
2) With knowledge about my hearing loss, I can help others. I’ve become an advocate for annual hearing screenings with my three children. And that senior adult friend of mine that refuses to get hearing aids? She has become more comfortable with the idea since I’ve shown her the set I wear. How many lives are affected by just one person? If you wear hearing aids, show them off to everyone you meet and see what a statement you’ll make with people.
3) Those I’ve helped can help themselves and others. It’s the pay it forward effect of hearing loss awareness. The people I educate about my hearing issues are more likely to take better care of their ears, visit the audiologist, and bug the John and Jane Does they love to get their hearing tested.
Owning up to my hearing loss sounds so simple when I blog about it. Yet how come it took two years after my progressive loss diagnosis for me to get hearing aids? Part of it was my pride, lack of knowledge, and scarcity of hearing loss role models around me. It wasn’t until a woman moved next door to me that I finally embraced the loss I’d been dealt. This new neighbor greeted me with a warm smile, handshake… and a set of hearing aids behind her ears.
May is Better Hearing Month and a good time to get your hearing tested. After testing, be sure to share the results with others. You could be helping them.
I think the sometimes, long-term process, of making a decision to get HA’s is a necessary one. As psychology is sort of my “thing” (grin) I think it is healthy process for all of us. Sure, some are more stubborn about it… eventually being pushed into seeking help by well-meaning (and frustrated) family or friends, but it is still necessary to fully accepting the place they find themselves in learning to be dependent on technologies available. Let’s face the facts (something you bring out very well in your wonderful blog). Hearing loss is a lot more than no longer hearing well. It affects our relationships, communication, self-esteem… even our identity. For some, many months of “May” will roll around and they will intentionally and deliberately ignore that they need to see an audi. Hopefully, each will eventually sport those HA’s with pride and renewed hope. That the final reservation may be set aside because they – like you – encountered someone living with HA’s and a smile, is a hope we all share!
Denise – I think the psychology aspect of hearing loss is a good point. It can take months and even years to become comfortable with the idea of getting hearing aids. Thank you for noting this.
Perhaps, I’m the soul of pragmatism. I’ve embraced HA and assistive technology heart and soul. I am the person friends with elder relatives with hearing loss recruit to “spread the word” although I can’t think of a convert I’ve made to date. I’m the poster child for hearing loss – I’m very open about it – to the point of learning ASL – which I recommend to everyone. Hearing loss is soooo isolating.
Marcia – Good for you in advocating to those around you. Someone is bound to be listening!
i have very diffcult time of my hearing severe loss on my left ear but i only got 20 % hearing but with hearing aid dont help me much but i do lipreading and tell them repeat or write down if dont know sign language. hearing people dont care about deaf dont matter what situation in as same as my family give me ignore my talking and i dont understand like kid really piss me off. i whether do sign language and not talk or hear. i be satify of my own way feeling. i am tired people tell us is dumb and hate cooperation. well God gave us birth and be happy way God gave us . dont let people bother u what they think or fun of u . i just walk away and pray for them. God know ur sign languages and understandable. he will help u and guide u if u give all to Jesus. He will take care of it .Amen
Janet – Thank you for commenting and sharing your words of wisdom and faith. Blessings to you.
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