The Joy of Hearing Aids

by

I have an experience that will be familiar to many late-deafened adults.

I have had a hearing loss for a very long time, but I didn’t know it until a few years ago. It wasn’t a big deal though, only high frequencies. Then, 18 months ago, I had a scuba diving accident that damaged my hearing. It pushed me over into having a mild hearing loss at most frequencies that became severe at high frequencies.

After about a year, I started getting frustrated by it. Because I’ve been involved in the deaf community for so long, I knew that I didn’t have to suffer without hearing well, I knew the technology was out there. So I went through all the tests, and an audiologist at Gallaudet told me hearing aids wouldn’t help because most of my loss is mild and they wouldn’t be effective at the high frequencies where my loss is severe.

I did a little research, and I found out the truth: normal hearing aids wouldn’t help, but the very fancy and expensive ones would. I knew I needed them, because my home life was being effected, but more importantly my work life was affected. I’m a certified interpreter, and I need to hear everything right the first time. So I saw an outside audiologist and ordered Oticon Epoqs, which I had researched as the best for me – they were very expensive! – and the audiologist agreed that they would help me.

Two night ago, my hearing aids arrived. As soon as I got home, I knew the original audiologist had been wrong. I could hear my wife again. For 18 months, I’d been asking her to repeat herself, making sure I could see her, and missing some things she said. And now, it was so simple…I could just hear her. No straining, no guessing, no filling in the blanks. Just hearing and understanding. And I cried, that’s how joyful I was.

Yesterday, I heard birds chirping as I walked to my car. I realized it had been a very long time since I’d heard birds! And there have been many other sounds that have surprised me. When I am downstairs, I can hear my wife call from upstairs. I can hear my cat meowing loud and clear! Some things take getting used to…I thought I heard rain yesterday afternoon, but it wasn’t raining. Turns out it was the cat playing in her food bowl! I’ve also asked my wife to tell me if I am talking too loud or too soft, because it’s hard to tell with the hearing aids.

I have gotten such great reactions at school. People have congratulated me on being hard of hearing – remember I was accepted as a HUG, because I applied just a few months after the accident and I didn’t realize how much it affected me. Everyone who sees my hearing aids – which isn’t everybody, because mine are open fit so there is no earmold – thinks they are adorable and tiny!

Most of all, what the hearing aids have given me is happiness. I feel so happy now! My hearing aids don’t make me hearing, I know that I’m still hard of hearing. But nothing is so sweet as hearing my wife’s voice, and I’m so happy I made this change in my life. They cost so much, but they were cheap compared to the happiness they have given me. I wouldn’t give them up for the world.

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2 Responses to “The Joy of Hearing Aids”

  1. colleen Says:

    I’m so happy for you! I can’t wait to hear more about your new identity has a hard of hearing person and what that change will mean for you.

  2. cruisesbyrose Says:

    Your blog came up when I posted mine. Funny how we both had the cat meow experience. I just thought I had got some really weird cats! ; )

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