I am excited to have my hearing loss story featured on Woman’s Day online. Please click through to support media coverage of hearing loss issues.
I’ve worn the same thing every single day for almost 20 years. I used to wear it during the day and take it off to sleep, but now I wear it at night, too. Sometimes it fits like a second skin, and I forget I have it on. Other days, it hurts. Sometimes it draws attention to itself, but often it goes unnoticed. Sometimes I hate it. Other times I love it. But I always need it.
It is my hearing aid.
My father wore hearing aids too. He hid his behind sideburns grown long for that purpose. He never discussed his hearing loss, though, which taught me that hearing aids were something to hide – something unmentionable, and certainly nothing to celebrate.
So when I started to lose my hearing in my mid-20s, I decided denial was better, and ignored it. I bluffed my way through difficult hearing situations and began to avoid friends and family I could not hear well. I was following in my father’s footsteps, filled with shame and isolation.
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