Getting a hearing aid can be a significant life change and these stories are guaranteed to tug at the heartstrings. This is how hearing aids changed the lives of 4 individuals with hearing loss.
Shari’s Story About Shame
Shari recently shared her story in Woman’s Day Magazine, and it’s one that resonates with many people worldwide.
Shari’s father had severe hearing loss that started at a young age. Growing up, she saw him trying to hide his hearing aid under his hair, pretending he didn’t wear one.
He never talked about hearing loss with the family.
Seeing this lead Shari to think it was shameful to wear a hearing device.
By her late teens, she too began to have trouble hearing. Because of the shame she felt about it, she ignored it and even lied to hide it. When the problem had become too big to ignore, she caved and agreed to get her hearing tested.
She had overcome the first hurdle in dealing with hearing loss, she had a hearing aid. The problem now was that she felt too embarrassed to use it.
She would covertly put it in when no one was looking. Then she’d take it out before anyone noticed, but when she had her first child, everything changed.
She realized that she and her father both had severe hearing loss very early in life. It likely had a genetic component.
She didn’t want her child to grow up thinking that hearing loss is something to be ashamed of.
She had to break the cycle and be a better example. She now proudly wears her hearing aid.
What started out as a show for her child’s sake has become a way of life. It took some time, but now she realizes how much better life is when she isn’t embarrassed to wear her hearing aid.
Rick S of South Carolina recently shared his hearing aid journey with the world, and it’s one that could quickly make a grown man cry.
Rick had forgotten so many subtle joys as he slowly lost his hearing. However, when it was restored, he began to remember them and appreciate them even more.
He didn’t realize that he had missed listening to his wife breathing softly at his side. He had forgotten entirely this pleasant and reassuring sound. He can now hear the subtleties in his son’s voice as they share a moment or the sound of someone playfully whispering.
He loves to listen to the wind and the chimes on the porch.
He’d almost forgotten what these simple pleasures in life sound like, but with his hearing aid he not only remembers them, he can enjoy them.
When just 3-years-old, little Luiz was fitted with a cochlear implant. It opened up the world for him after years in silence.
He had missed so much of his early communication development due to hearing impairment. The next several years were spent trying to catch up academically.
He improved year after year. Then the unthinkable happened.
At age 9, his world suddenly went silent. His cochlear implant stopped working. His family couldn’t afford to get it repaired. Luiz and his family had to face the possibility that Luiz might spend years or a lifetime without hearing.
This could cause irreversible damage to his ability to communicate with his family.
Luiz missed hearing music, conversations and feeling connected to people in the classroom. He suddenly felt more alone.
But Luiz’ community rallied around the young boy. They held fundraisers to raise the money for Luiz to get the hearing aid he needed. People in the community who didn’t even know the boy joined in. Together, they were able to raise the money.
Luiz cried as he again heard the voices of his family and classmates. He was overjoyed to experience music that he thought he might have lost forever.
Ronald R, a US Navy Veteran, shared his story with AARP.
He was in denial for a long time. He’d suffered a burst eardrum and was told he needed hearing devices while still in the service. The images of the oversized hearing aid his dad wore haunted him, and he didn’t want any part of it.
He knew he was always saying “what?” when people would talk, but he just saw it as an inevitable part of military service and aging. He would just tough it out.
The problem is “toughing it out” isn’t a long-term plan and he suffered from the hearing loss for 20 years. He endured the strain it caused on his health, happiness, family, and quality of life.
He finally got his first hearing aid over a decade ago and his biggest regret? Not getting them sooner. He’s amazed at how they’ve changed his life!
He can connect them to his TV or smartphone to listen wirelessly. He can listen to music and get directions through Google Maps. He’s excited about the technology. It’s completely changed his life for the better.
He’s on his 3rd pair and would recommend that anyone who suspects they have hearing loss try a pair out. Hearing aid technologies have advanced by leaps and bounds and can correct for a wide array of auditory issues. These certainly aren’t the hearing aids he was afraid of!