This week we have stories from two people who use hearing aids, a family member and a person with a cochlear implant. Thank you for sharing your stories with us.
Because the subway is so loud, I routinely turn off my hearing aids and then read the newspaper. One day the woman beside me spoke to me. I said, “Just a minute,” and started to turn on my hearing aids. She spoke again, but too soon. When I finally got them on she shouted, “Is the next stop Davisville?” I heard her then and about 25 people in the car shouted, “Yes”.
I wear two hearing aids although my loss is not supposed to be severe. The aids are supposed to cut out peripheral sounds but they certainly do not. To be in a meeting with several people or in a restaurant with loud music or any large room with an echo is frustrating. All the sounds bubble around and prevent hearing clearly what people are saying. I simply have to concentrate on one or two people and let it go at that.
As a person who lives with a spouse with a profound hearing loss I can speak from the other side of the story. My spouse has lived with hearing loss for 55 years and wears two powerful hearing aids and has a wireless microphone system. I wear the microphone or we put on a table or in front of the TV. It has been a godsend to us and makes communication so much easier. My issue is that I don’t always know when my spouse has heard me speak. Sometimes I assume that he does and then I learn he has no idea what I said. Other times he doesn’t respond and I assume he has not heard but when I say, “Did you hear me?” he says he did. Makes conversations challenging.
Several years ago we attended a workshop at a hospital for people with hearing aids and their relatives. It was frustrating to be told that all the onus was placed on the family and friends to speak up, to be patient, to face the person. There were no suggestions that some of the responsibility is on the person with the hearing aid to attend, to respond, to let people know when they are not hearing.
I was diagnosed with a hearing loss at the age of 25 but it was not a big problem for me as I was still able to use the telephone. I was employed in financial services. As soon as I could no longer use the telephone to talk with our clients I got downsized, but they called it ‘technology change’. So I just went into a shell and felt useless. For about two years I didn’t go to the bank or grocery shopping because I was so afraid of someone talking to me and I wouldn’t understand.
I went to work for Canada Post as a letter carrier-clerk and was there for 12 years. At the age of 59 I got a cochlear implant and life became more normal for me.
I remember the day my implant was activated. I was so thrilled I went to my car and put the radio on. Big mistake! I could hear the news and music very well and could understand the words. But then a fire truck came up behind me and I didn’t hear the siren so they came really close and blared the horn so loud I panicked and couldn’t move out of the way. I didn’t know whether to go left or right or go ahead so I stopped in my lane and the fire fighter was really upset with me until he heard me say that I am deaf. I usually make good use of mirrors, but this day I was so happy with my implant, and hearing things I hadn’t heard in a very long time, that I got spellbound.
Do these stories sound familiar to you? Do you have other stories – either as someone with a hearing loss or a family member or friend? Send me your story. It’s easy. Just click the ‘comments’ button below and give me your first name and email address and we’ll get started.
I look forward to hearing from you