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For anyone who’s struggling with tinnitus or hearing loss, we know that not being able to hear affects all aspects of your life. You can’t communicate clearly with loved ones, and hearing loss holds you back at school or at work. Sadly 2 in every 3 people who need hearing aids don’t seek treatment, but choose to continue living is an eerily quiet world. If you’ve been looking for some inspiration to take that first step in looking after your hearing health, here are some stories that inspire us.
American Speech Language Hearing Association
For more than 90 years, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) has celebrated Better Hearing and Speech Month every May. This is a time to raise awareness of the dangers of living with untreated hearing loss, and inspire people to treat their hearing loss. The theme for 2019 is “Communication Across the Lifespan” and you’re invited to join audiologists, speech pathologists and scientists in learning more about communication disorders and treatment options. Find out more at http://www.asha.org/bhsm/, and be inspired to treat your hearing loss.
Lorenzo is a 33-year-old marketing manager who’s been deaf since birth. As a teenager, he refused to wear his hearing aids, and didn’t want to face the stigma of hearing loss, choosing to go through his day completely deaf. “For years I struggled without my hearing aids,” says Lorenzo, “which meant I couldn’t keep up with conversations. But I wouldn’t be able to do half the things I do today without them.” While he did wear hearing aids as a child, during his adolescence and college years he worried a lot about what people would think of him, and stopped wearing his devices. He wasn’t able to keep up with conversations, or hear what was going on around him.
Finally, in his mid-20s he started wearing his devices full time, and has been amazed at the difference they make. Both in his personal and professional life he started to succeed, and he says his confidence soared. “Hearing aids don’t make you ‘old’,” Lorenzo says, “they keep you young! Embrace it.” With his hearing aids and his newfound confidence, Lorenzo embraces the things he’s good at, and always pushes himself to do new things, like trying new sports and even running a marathon. Whatever he does, his hearing aids go with him, and they’ve removed a lot of barriers in his life.
Emma suffered from an ear infection at the age of 3 that left her with severe hearing in both ears. She struggled to communicate, and overcome the difficulty of learning to speak clearly and hear with her new devices. With the help of hearing aids and speech therapy, she learned how to speak clearly, communicate easily, and even sing and play several musical instruments! She went on to be the first woman with hearing loss to win the Miss San Antonio crown when she was studying at the University of Texas. Rather than hiding her hearing aids, Emma says she wears her devices as “a badge of honor” and is happy if her story can inspire others with hearing loss to seek treatment. She wears her devices with pride, and using her social media channels she encourages others to do the same, and work together to remove the stigma of hearing loss.
Andy is 74 years old, and full of life and energy. “I’m probably not your average 70-something with hearing loss,” says Andy, “But I don’t see why I should let it hold me back.” When he retired from his career as a primary school teacher, he picked up some new hobbies, and continues to learn new things. He didn’t want to follow the example of his mom, who had hearing loss and withdrew from society as a senior, living an isolated and lonely life. He got hearing aids when he was in his 50s, started lecturing part time at a university, and even singing at the open mic events at local pubs.
Pacific Northwest Audiology
If you’ve been living with untreated hearing loss, come celebrate Better Hearing and Speech Month with us! Follow the example of these inspirational people, and see what quality hearing aids can do for you.