I am proud to share my hearing loss story and tips on Mango Health.
Have you ever struggled to hear a conversation? Whether you were in a loud environment or speaking to someone soft spoken, you’ll know that being hard of hearing can be uncomfortable and even embarrassing. Hearing health advocate Shari Eberts shares how she learned to accept the onset of hearing loss.
I grew up the child of someone with hearing loss. My father wore hearing aids, but they were never seen — always hidden by sideburns grown long for that purpose. He never discussed his hearing loss and went out of his way to hide it. I remember social gatherings where he would disappear only to be found sitting at a table in the corner alone. I always wondered why, but now I know. He probably couldn’t hear and was embarrassed, or exhausted and just couldn’t bring himself to bother.
So when I first started having problems hearing in my mid-20s, I hid it, following his example. And when I got my first pair of hearing aids, I refused to wear them. I was embarrassed. I am not sure why. Was it a learned response from watching my father, or was it something larger — the stigma associated with hearing loss — that I wanted to avoid? In any event, my mother’s reaction was not encouraging. “Do you really need to wear them?” she asked me.
Eventually, the answer became yes, I really did need to wear them. But still, I avoided them as much as possible. I remember sneaking them in on the way to work, wearing them all day hidden behind my long hair and whipping them out as soon as the elevator door closed behind me on my way out of the office. I hated my hearing aids and only wore them when I absolutely needed to, and never socially or with my friends or family.
But then I had two children of my own, and this forced me to come to terms with my hearing loss. But how?
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