Meandering Through the Hearing World
Living the Way You Want With Hearing Loss
As an aging and retired baby boomer, I find myself able to spend my time any way that I want. After a career in healthcare administration, adjunct lecturer in business schools, and as a project manager, I like to use my education and skill set to volunteer in my community. Currently, I am a member of various committees in my neighborhood community association. Also, I’m a member of the board of directors for a local healthcare clinic, providing medical services to those who work but cannot afford healthcare insurance. I write this column, which is posted on the Florida Hearing Loss Association of America website. I also write for ALDA’s online newsletter and various other HLAA state chapter newsletters.
As a volunteer, I’ve a learned a great deal about communicating. Be direct, learn to make people understand what you are saying to them, be kind and courteous to those who don’t always agree with you. I am always grateful to those who are willing to help me hear by facing me and repeating when needed.
As I go from meeting to meeting, I wish I had perfect hearing. Unfortunately, and as we all know, even the best cochlear implants or top-of-the line hearing aids with artificial intelligence will never bring one’s hearing into normal range in all situations.
Yet, the technology in implants, hearing aids, and peripheral devices has improved, allowing many of us to partake in the social events that we love. My handy mini mic aids my hearing in many challenging hearing environments and this device is particularly useful as I speak with others wearing masks. But even with all that, I struggle to hear. Yes, it is frustrating and exhausting, but I tell myself that being active is better than staying home and doing nothing.
As an active person with hearing loss, I arm myself with the best hearing and peripheral devices that I can afford. I keep abreast of what is developing with hearing loss technology. I let others know that I suffer from hearing loss. I visit my audiologist and doctor regularly to make sure that my hearing is stable and that I am using my hearing equipment properly. I listen to webinars and books on tape in order to improve my hearing. I play music in my home and in my car to develop focusing skills, allowing me to hear better when I’m in a noisy environment.
Since my hearing isn’t perfect, mistakes and misunderstandings occur. Through no fault of my own, I hear what I think I hear. When I’m in a meeting with other people, I try to remember to ask for clarification if I don’t understand something and when I don’t catch every word. Never be ashamed or afraid to admit you didn’t hear something. Don’t try to fake it. When hearing mishaps occur, seek clarification instead of getting angry.
I try to live as I want to live and not be stopped or stymied by my hearing loss. I’ve had a difficult time hearing for most of my adult life. My experiences have taught me that hiding and refusing to be a social being is not the answer. Never let your hearing or any other problem stop your meanderings through the hearing world. Use your talents and knowledge to help others. Live the way that you want by learning to live with your hearing loss