Awareness Of Hearing Loss Is A Gift

I’m a coal miner’s son. My name is John. My father lost most of his hearing at an early age. He worked with dynamite, pneumatic drilling equipment, and contracted spinal meningitis in 1938. He drank his “shot-n-beer” for medicinal purposes. His family and friends had difficulty with his behavior…they had no idea of his suffering. Neither did he. None that were close to him did. Mom…”he could hear. He only hears what he wants”!

I also started to lose my hearing at an early age. I was not a coal miner. In fact, my career required exemplary communication skills..both spoken and written. I was a high-tech sales and marketing manager. If one needs a definite skill in that field, it is surely LISTENING! UNDERSTANDING!

One cannot just hear, and not understand…in all things.

I purchased my first set of hearing aids when I turned forty-three. My son Nick was three years old, and my daughter Kate was one at that time. I had a brand new family! Both Nick and Kate were becoming beautiful talkers…not much screaming or crying!

Prior to using hearing aids, good wife, Karis, used to give me the “four-finger on her cheek” sign when we were participating in group activities, especially dinners with associates and their wives. That signal was her way of letting me know I was four seconds behind in the conversation. Get with it John…engage! Being a humorous fellow, I laughed often about that. Unfortunately, it was not a laughing matter in reality.

I put this HEARING LOSS FUNK together with a mission in mind. We hearing impaired truly suffer negative “emotional byproducts” because of hearing loss. I hope to discuss those issues as they affected me. I was fortunate to realize the loss early in my life. Many live not very happy lives because they never become aware hearing loss is happening to them. This is the purpose of my blog. I want to promote AWARENESS. Believe me, ones early awareness of their hearing loss is truly a gift in life.

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Comments

  • Karis Kominitsky Walmer  On March 25, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    The gradual loss of any of our primary senses is, indeed, very hard on the person it is happening to and the people he/she lives with. As John’s wife, I thought at first that his lack of response or sometime slightly awkward responses were due to inattention. I began to realize, over a period of several years, that he actually didn’t always hear everything that was going on around him. He didn’t believe me at first but came to realize finally that a loss of hearing was the problem. After he received his first pair of hearing aids, life was a little smoother. But, unfortunately, his type of loss is insidious and the problem worsened.

    A hearing loss in a spouse naturally leads to a loss of communication, especially if the impaired hearer has not been trained in another way to understand speakers (i.e. lip-reading). The breakdown in communicating can significantly undermine relationships, both at home and work. As John struggled to understand quickly-flowing conversations, humerous remarks, or quick responses, he often found himself lost in the midst of what was going on. It isn’t hard to see how anger and depression often followed. Getting to the point where you accept the actual loss is tough enough, but living with it everyday is even worse.

    John uses top-notch hearing aids now. Although they help a lot, it is still not easy for him to follow all that is verbally going on. It’s certainly not due to a lack of intelligence, but rather a profound loss of his hearing. I’m proud of him for starting this blog. My hope is that it opens dialogue on a tremendous problem for many folks out there. Good work John, and may this discussion be a boon to you and your blogmates!

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