By Diane Goodman
I am 63 years old, and have a thirteen year old grandson who is hard of hearing.
I first noticed my hearing loss in 1990, when I was 44 years old. I was staying the night at a friend’s house, and was irritated by the ticking of the alarm clock. However, when I rolled over in the bed, I couldn’t hear the clock at all. Around the same time, I attended a CNIB workshopand was blindfolded so I could get some idea of what it would be liketo be blind. Once the blindfold went on, I became not only blind, but extremely hard of hearing! I hadn’t realized how much I depended on visual clues to compensate for my hearing loss. Three years passed before I actually had my hearing checked.
Although the findings indicated I did indeed have a hearing loss in my right ear, I chose not to get a hearing aid. Over the years, I have learned some tricks to aid my hearing loss. I always try to walk and/ or sit so people are on my left side. Because my loss is mostly in the lower tones, I have the most difficulty hearing my husband. He also has a hearing loss, so we have some house rules. For example, don’t talk to me if you can’t see me, and call my name to get my attention before you talk to me. Also, because my hearing loss is only in one ear, and I have trouble locating where sound is coming from, tell me where you are! Crowds are difficult. When I am talking to a person in a noisy environment, I try to position myself so they talk into my good ear. Unfortunately, because people like to make eye contact, we end up turning in circles.
Because I don’t wear a hearing aid, I have to inform people of my hearing loss. I am always pleasantly surprised at how accommodating people are. Everyone always knows someone who is also hard of hearing. Actually, most people my age (63) seem to be hard of hearing!