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.