Hannah’s Hearing Loss Story
Posted: January 28 2020
What was life like before using hearing aids (struggles/effect on family and friends/apprehensions towards treatment)? What was the “trigger” that caused you to seek help and choose treatment (hearing aids)?
I was diagnosed with a hearing loss at the age of three, I cannot remember life without hearing aids. I asked my Mum to answer this question to give more clarity.
“It was apparent from an early age that something was amiss. Although a happy bright baby, Hannah did not learn to speak as quickly as her older sister, nor did she have as extensive vocabulary. It was not until she was three years old that she was diagnosed with a bilateral hearing loss. Upon diagnosis, she soon received her hearing aids. We were advised to encourage Hannah to wear them for a couple of hours a day until she adapted to them. This was no necessary! As soon as she put them in, Hannah was delighted with the improvement in her hearing and wore them all day.”
How is life different/better/easier since using hearing aids?
Growing up, wearing hearing aids allowed me the access to learn speech. I wear my hearing aids every day; in class (university), during my teaching practicum, in social events, sports etc. To me, hearing aids are a norm and I could not imagine my life without them. Without my hearing aids, I have to really concentrate on speech and I find it hard to pick up where sounds are coming from. As well, my conversations without hearing aids are mostly me inferring what is being said.
Over the years, technology in hearing aids has changed drastically. In the past, when I wanted to listen to music, I would have to take my hearing aids out, and put headphones in. This meant I could not hear around me, and when someone wanted to talk to me, I had to then turn on my hearing aids, wait for the hearing aid to turn on, while putting them in my ears, and then ask the person to repeat what they said. Now, I can stream music straight to my aids from my phone and pause the music instantly to understand what is being said. Similarly, phone calls can now go straight through my hearing aids. I have an easier time hearing on a phone call now.
To me, hearing aids give me a sense of security. When I am out in public, I feel vulnerable without my hearing aids. For example, with my old aids, if my hearing aid battery died, I could tell the difference straight away, even with one aid in the other ear. It is harder to understand what is going on in your environment. If I am with someone when I cannot hear well, I ask them to be my ears.
How has this impacted you and your loved ones?
I am able to communicate with others, be involved in the hearing world and my family are able to communicate with me. Sometimes in the mornings, I don’t put my hearing aids in straight away and my family are begging me to put them in because it is frustrating for them to chat with me. Without my hearing aids, I miss the small talk/side comments, conversations, and I am less aware of what is going on in my surroundings.
Do you have any advice for others who are living with untreated hearing loss?
It may seem overwhelming at first, and it is okay to feel that way, but the best first step is to get your hearing tested and talk to an audiologist you trust. There are a lot of options available. There are also a lot more people than you realize that rely on hearing aids, it is always worth asking others their experience and suggestions.
I have worn hearing aids for as long as I can remember and sometimes I do not realize what I miss when I don’t have them in. If I spent the morning without my hearing aids, as soon as I plug my aids in, I enter a louder world. Suddenly, I can hear my brother watching a video on his phone, my Mum may be playing the piano downstairs in the house etc. You do not realize how much you are sacrificing until you have your aids in and can hear the things you’ve been missing. We live in a noisy world.
As well, if you are avoiding social situations because of your hearing, definitely get your hearing checked. Your hearing loss should never limit your social interactions.