My Story with Hearing Loss
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I’ve been hard of hearing for as long as I can remember. One of my earliest memories is failing a hearing test while in elementary school. I was taken to the nurse’s office (alone) and retested. I still failed. We didn’t really take any “next steps” with that information, but I continued to have hearing tests at annual pediatrician appointments. Fast forward to today and I am still dealing with hearing issues, if not more so since entering the corporate world and having kids.
Just in time for Better Hearing and Speech month (May), keep reading to learn more about my hearing loss, what I’m doing about it, and why it is important.
Looking back, I have always dealt with hearing loss, though it didn’t always seem apparent. I have a family history of hearing loss and I also experienced quite a bit of ear infections as a child which did not help my case whatsoever. Not being able to hear well was just my family’s “normal”. I thought it was other people who were weird and had their television turned down too low! I probably didn’t take care of our ears that well, but my hearing was kind of doomed from the get-go. Whether I was blasting music too loud in the car or using earbuds incorrectly, I didn’t to myself any favors in the hearing department. One of the craziest things we did growing up was blow dry our hair in front of the tv and turn it up louder so we could hear it over the hair dryer sound. Hah! All that to say, wellness visits and eye appointments are encouraged annually and dentist appointments are best twice a year. Why doesn’t ear health have a recommended visit and timeframe? I couldn’t tell you the last time I had my hearing tested, yet hearing is part of a good quality of life.
I’ve mentioned it on the blog before, but my hearing has declined over time. I mean it only makes sense, right? I ask “what” more times than I’d like to and then at a certain point I just laugh and nod like I’ve heard even if I haven’t. When I was in a corporate office, I would always wear headphones even if I wasn’t playing anything. This ensured that co-workers would tap me on the shoulder, making sure that they were close enough to my hearing range. At my last corporate position, my boss (the CEO mind you) repeatedly said to me “my God, you have bad hearing”, both in private and public settings. Some of my closest friends only learned I had poor hearing in the last several years. To my horror, they just thought I was ignoring them / didn’t want to talk. They only figured it out because my husband said “you know if she doesn’t answer you, it is probably just because she can’t hear you”. Thanks, Nick!
Fast forward to the past couple of years and I was pretty much coasting with hearing loss. I listened to things a little louder, always used subtitles, and looked at mouths during conversations to understand words easier. Then the pandemic hit and people started wearing masks. Not only did this muffle words and make it harder for me to understand, but it covered their lips and I could no longer lip read. Needless to say, I was struggling. On top of that, I found out I was expecting twins and I kind of got panicky about being able to hear them after they were born. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back, so I started researching hearing aids. I ended up really liking Phonak, partially because that is the brand my mom wears and partially because the company really stood out to me. I am happy to say that I am now an ambassador for Phonak and am excited to take you on this journey to better hearing and overall wellbeing.
With better hearing, comes better confidence and everyone deserves that! On top of that, as per Johns Hopkins, hearing loss can lead to a faster atrophy rate in the brain and contribute to dementia. Hearing issues can affect more than just your social interactions, so don’t forget to take care of ALL of your body. I hope in telling my story I will encourage others to get their hearing checked and take necessary measures for improving their own overall health. Stay tuned for a run through of what to expect when you get a hearing aid and a review of the specific Phonak model I have. I am excited for you to hear more!
If you’re overwhelmed, a great place to start with your hearing health is to simply get a hearing test. If you have kids, they get hearing tests at birth and at annual visits, but you can go further and have the hearing loss OtoScope test run your kids to see if they genetically inherited poor hearing. The University of Iowa is a great place to look into getting this specific test run. It sounds scary, but catching it early can help them in the long run.
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