Hearing Loss: When You Feel Like Your Senses Fail You

One of my favorite parts of the annual HLAA Convention is the inspiring speakers. This year was no exception. Rebecca Alexander, a psychotherapist and author, was the keynote. She has Usher syndrome, which means that she is progressively going deaf and blind. Her vision problems presented in childhood, but when she began having trouble hearing in college, she received her diagnosis. Both senses would be taken from her over time. This is a crushing blow, particularly at age 19. The way she has dealt with such a huge loss is inspiring.

It is impossible to imagine the terror of losing two senses simultaneously, but I felt myself in her shoes as she shared her journey of acceptance and empowerment. I could relate to the stories she told about her struggles and the silly and brave things she did along the way. One story particularly resonated with me — the moment she realized she could no longer trust her senses.

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Should You Include Family in Your Next Audiologist Visit?

My recent article for Hearing Tracker ponders whether you should bring your family to your next audiologist appointment. What do you think? 

The power of including your family in your hearing loss journey can’t be overstated. This was on clear display at a recent HLAA panel discussion on family relationships and hearing loss. The panelists included a married couple, a mother/daughter and two sisters. One person in each pair had hearing loss, while the other did not. The love and respect that they had for one another shone through. Not only were they great partners in life, but also in communication. Each acknowledged that it took a lot of work, but the payoff was significant for both sides.

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I Won’t Let My Hearing Loss Hold Me Back

Sometimes in life, you need to take a risk — go outside your normal day-to-day routine for a chance to enrich your life, learn something new, or push yourself to develop new skills. For me, that time is now. I am embarking on a 4-week yoga teacher training in Fiji. It is something I have always wanted to do and the timing is perfect with my children at summer camp. Maybe one day I will teach yoga classes for people with hearing loss.

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Finding Comfort with the Discomfort of Hearing Loss

One of the reasons hearing loss is so frustrating is because we cannot control it. When entering a new situation, we don’t know what listening challenges we will meet. We can’t figure out in advance if an important speaker will be a mumbler or worse yet a mumbler with a voice in your hardest to hear frequencies. We have little authority over our hearing loss, but what we can control is how we react to it and what steps we take to counteract it. We take back the power when we learn to find comfort with discomfort.

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Interesting Reads: Ephphatha By Dr. Thomas Caulfield

I enjoy reading inspiring stories about people with hearing loss, especially tales like the one in Ephphatha, a new book by Dr. Thomas Caulfield. The book shares the courageous journey of his son Christopher, born profoundly deaf, and his struggles to combat and overcome this disability through much of his young life. There were many ups and downs, but through hard work, cochlear implant (CI) technology, perseverance and tremendous familial support, Christopher matures into an intelligent, kind, and purposeful man. It is uplifting to go on this adventure with him.

Today, Christopher Caulfield is a tremendous advocate for the disability community, including people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Regular readers of this blog might remember him as one of the Cornell Tech students working on captioning glasses that I discuss in a prior post. This summer, Christopher will be joining Microsoft as a Program Manager within the Cloud and Artificial Intelligence group. Over time, he hopes to get involved in Microsoft’s accessibility initiatives for people with hearing loss.

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