“Dear valued patient,” the letter began, “it is with some regret that I will be retiring from private practice.” My audiologist was selling her business. I put aside the letter with a heavy sigh. Why did I feel like I had suddenly lost my anchor and the hearing loss seas were getting rough? It was time to find a new audiologist.
Thank you to Rayovac Hearing Aid Batteries for sponsoring my participation in this hearing mission. All opinions expressed in this piece are my own. To read my other post about this mission, click here.
My advocacy work typically takes the form of writing or speaking. I focus on breaking down barriers for people with hearing loss, crushing stigma and promoting self-advocacy. I want people to live their best lives despite struggling with hearing loss and tinnitus. But I had never given the gift of hearing itself, until recently.
Rayovac Hearing Aid Batteries invited me to participate in a Starkey Hearing Foundation mission to Dominica. Rayovac supplies all the batteries for these missions. I was there as a hearing health advocate, volunteer, and writer, with the goal of capturing the mission experience in words. I thank Rayovac for this memorable opportunity.
Hearing aids have been taking Washington DC by storm of late. First was the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) report entitled “Aging America & Hearing Loss: Imperative of Improved Technologies” in 2015, followed by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report “Hearing Health Care for Adults: Priorities for Improving Access and Affordability” last summer.
Both recommended a new category of hearing aids — one that could be sold over-the-counter (OTC) similar to how people buy aspirin or reading glasses. And just a few months ago, a bipartisan bill that authorizes a new category of OTC hearing aids for people with mild to moderate hearing was introduced in Congress.
The idea has been quite controversial, with proponents favoring the improved ease of access for these important devices and detractors worried that audiologists would be cut out of the process, increasing the risk that the aids would be used improperly or even dangerously.
Thank you to Rayovac Hearing Aid Batteries for sponsoring my participation in this hearing mission. All opinions expressed in this piece are my own. To read my other post about this mission click here.
As someone with hearing loss, I appreciate my hearing aids and the freedom they give me to interact with others and live my life as fully as I can. Without my hearing aids, I would miss my children calling to me at night and laughing with them at play. Social situations and business meetings would be more challenging. I would often feel isolated and alone. So when I had the opportunity to share the gift of hearing with others, I jumped at the chance.
She placed the lens in front of my eye. The letters snapped to attention and I could suddenly read what had a second ago been blurry. It felt like a miracle. Perfect vision in the blink of an eye. If only my hearing were so easy to correct. But unfortunately, hearing aids are not yet like glasses.