Hearing loss is a genetic and “inherited” problem within my mother’s family. For my maternal aunts & uncles, their hearing loss problem began around age 40. When this happened to me, I was working for Public TV & Radio where the ability to hear clearly is essential. I often found myself struggling within my workplace, where my hearing loss became very frustrating to me and my co-workers.
After retiring from broadcasting, I began teaching college classes in Communications & Public Speaking. Again, it was essential to “hear” my students’ presentations to grade them fairly. But, when I first began wearing hearing aids, their volume control was very poor. When my students would all laugh or applaud at the same time, the volume level became extremely loud and very uncomfortable.
Many of my college students were studying for careers in medicine, where their verbal interaction with patients would be critically important. In teaching them “better communication”, I stressed looking directly at their patients plus speaking slowly and clearly. Better diction can be more effective than “more” volume when speaking to the hearing-impaired. It’s amazing how many medical professionals speak to their patients while turned away or while reading their medical charts!!
In college, I had actually studied the difference between a conductive and neural hearing loss. Most Americans experience the “neural” kind, which involves a malfunctioning Auditory Cranial Nerve and its inability to conduct sound waves to the brain for correct interpretation. It would truly be a miracle if this damaged nerve could be medically repaired, so that hearing aids were NO longer necessary!!
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