Meandering Through the Hearing World

Helping Each Other Hear

There is much said and written about hearing loss and mask wearing and how difficult it is for people who suffer from hearing loss to communicate, particularly when doing business or in healthcare situations. I have had very frustrating hearing meltdowns at the supermarket and the bank. Not to mention the confusion that has occurred socially. In spite of it all, there are good people out there willing to help, my family doctor and his staff being one. They have a very good way of caring for me, which makes them perfect examples of how to treat people with hearing loss. 


After I received word that my old doctor had taken a job elsewhere, I was a little nervous visiting my new doctor during the summer months. Not only was I concerned about sitting in a crowded waiting room and being seen by staff members who may be harboring virus, I was worried about how they would handle my profound hearing loss and all of the difficulties I have communicating with masked people.


I am pleased to report that my first visit with my new doctor went very smoothly as did subsequent visits. I never have to sit for more than a minute or two in the waiting room. My doctor’s assistant comes along to bring me back into an exam room right away. She goes over my medications, takes my blood pressure, pulse, and oxygen saturation rate. She has marked in my chart that I have a hearing problem. She is more than willing to write out what she wants me to do.


I bring my mini mic to my appointments. Though I still might have to ask my doctor or his staff to repeat, they are kind enough and patient enough, to tell me again and again what I need to hear. My doctor’s assistant is especially patient. She told me she has relatives and other patients with hearing loss. Her experience comes shining through in her matter-of-fact manner. She never makes you feel different or a burden.


For legal reasons, my doctor’s office does not use email. I have text voicemail messaging so when my doctor’s office communicates with me, I simply read the message they leave. I am a fan of text voicemail and recommend contacting your cell phone carrier to see how to add it to your service. Text voicemail has saved me hours of replaying messages. 


Many of my friends complain that their doctors are not willing to spend time with them or that they are rushed in and out quickly. Before seeing my doctor, I prepare a list of questions so we can get to the reason for my visit quickly. Having something on paper makes it clear to both of us where I’m coming from. I always have a pen and paper so I can take notes.


Though I believe in self-sufficiency, I do think that it is hard to get by without others helping you. Letting people know about your hearing loss is often a first step. From there, arm yourself with the best hearing and peripheral devices possible. I could not survive in the hearing world without my mini mic, my loop enabled hearing aids, text messages, emails, and my made-for-iPhone hearing aids. Hearing aids and Implants help us hear. Peripheral devices are like the icing on the cake, they make hearing sweeter and easier.


There are no perfect hearing solutions. We must all search for what works for us.  But as you meander through the hearing world remember that aids and implants can only give you so much hearing relief. Look for and seek out your best hearing peripheral tools. Solicit the help of friends, family, business, and medical associates. You might find that saying I need help is your best bet in conquering the hearing world.

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Linda Bilodeau

I’ve grappled with hearing loss since 1978. Through it all, I’ve faced periods of denial, acceptance, curiosity, trust and hope. But more often than not, I’ve felt annoyed, angry and frightened. I’ve encountered despair, loneliness and envy. I’ve experienced panic attacks. I’ve met understanding people, kind souls who helped me a great deal and others who thought I had nothing short of an invisible plague. As a way of coming to terms with my hearing loss, I’ve decided to put my feelings about my disability down on paper. My hope is to better understand myself and perhaps you’ll find a little something in my meanderings that will help you, too.

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