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Sharing About Your Hearing Loss Can Change A Life

I had many reasons to avoid a hearing test. I'd had one years before and decided not to address what was, at that time, minor hearing loss. I was worried about the high cost of hearing aids. I was worried about looking old (er). I wasn't sure I had a hearing problem. I didn't want to take the time. Now all that seems like blah, blah, blah. If my son-in-law hadn't shared his experiences with hearing loss, I probably wouldn't have changed my thinking.

My son-in-law has dealt with significant hearing loss his entire life, but it wasn't without a lot of prodding by his wife that he finally decided to get his hearing checked. His hearing aids changed his life, and as he shared his experience with better hearing, I thought more about getting tested too. He'd had great experiences with CR Hearing, and so that's where I went too.

Hearing tests are like vision tests. You know you can't flunk, but the word "test" still causes anxiety. I bet most people joke about flunking the test as they enter the sound-proofed booth; I know I did.

Here's what I learned. My hearing had deteriorated a lot, but only in one ear. I had already adopted various strategies to compensate for my hearing-impaired right ear, but my adaptations were becoming more and more troublesome. If possible, my wife was always to my right, so if I misunderstood or ignored anyone, it was her. (Great for our post-get-together conversations). I avoided sitting next to people I didn't know who were on my right. If in an auditorium or other large gathering, I sat in the front to the speaker's left. I avoided interacting with people I didn't know because I couldn't predict what they were saying based on context, unlike close acquaintances.

CR Hearing's audiologists, Nancy and Melissa, weren't selling anything. They offered different solutions and encouraged questions and consideration for the options.

I was so excited by my new world of sound that I shared my experiences with my 83-year-old father-in-law. He was worried about (see list above) plus all the friends who said they'd gotten hearing aids but didn't wear them because they were uncomfortable or didn't work. His experience at CR Hearing was just like mine, and so the son-in-law/father-in-law/son-in-law thing kept going.

Next, a pharmacist friend of mine remarked about my hearing aids, and I shared how mine transmit sound from my inoperable right ear to my left one and how free I felt to interact with anyone I wanted. He made an appointment, learned a bunch, and now he's enjoying beloved music and grandchild chatter for the first time in years.

I understand your worries about hearing and hearing solutions. My son-in-law had those worries too. I had those worries. My father-in-law had those worries, as did my friend. But once you can hear again, all those worries go away.

If you've overcome hearing loss, share your story. If you've adopted workarounds for your hearing loss, reach out to a doctor of audiology. Hellen Keller said, "Blindness cuts us off from things, but deafness cuts us off from people." Listen, it's time to reconnect with the people in your life.

- Kurt Karr, Patient


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