AMERICA’S HIDDEN EPIDEMIC

The statistics are scary- about 20% of Americans, over 48 million have some degree of hearing loss. Guest columnist Elaine Miller discusses her battle with this afflication.

Family: MOM!  ELAINE?

Elaine: What?

Family: Didn’t you hear us?

Elaine:….No.

This was becoming a common conversational occurrence in my home. My family was annoying the heck out of me with their constant quips about my hearing, or lack thereof. It irritated me to the point of frustration and I finally told them I would go to the doctors and have my hearing evaluated, basically so I could prove them wrong. Only problem, they weren’t wrong. It was determined that I truly do have a hearing loss, more in my left ear than my right. It was not genetic but was from excessive noise exposure. (Yeah for the concerts of my youth!), When the Audiologist gave me a pair of hearing aids to try she explained you have to retrain your brain to hear. Really? Hearing aids? Come on, I’m only 59! But, she was right! Newer hearing aids aren’t like the ones your grandparents used that were mostly amplifiers. These are amazing technologically advanced processors which are calibrated specifically for one’s hearing defects. They are bluetooth compatible with my phone, so I no longer need earbuds to listen to music or watch a video. The extra accessories available also allowed me to link them up with my TV. The shows then stream directly into my ears in surround sound! I can now also speak on the phone hands-free with my connect clip. Finally, I use rechargeable batteries as they are more convenient and cost effective. Regular batteries last for about three years and are pretty expensive. If these fail I just replace them after recharging. Easy!

I am now hearing things I didn’t even know I was missing. Like pebbles hitting the underside of my car while driving on the freeway, and the background sounds on TV shows and movies. I love the sizzle on the grill while barbecuing, and the birds chirping and singing which is such a thrill. But do you know what I don’t hear? ” Why are you shouting? ” or ” Didn’t you hear me? ” I am so grateful to have my hearing back and I will never go back to my ” old ears “.

(Note: Thanks to my daughter Elaine Miller for sharing her story!)

 

 

 

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