Losing My Hearing Over Forty Years
I was born with perfect hearing but at age 20 my hearing started to decline.
If I missed what someone said, did I explain to them that I had a hearing loss? No. Did I ask them to please talk to me in such a way that I could hear them? No. Did I use assistive listening devices to help me hear in cars or noisy environments? No. Did I seek out self-help groups to get support from others? Well, you already know that the answer is NO.
The truth is I didn’t want people to know I had a hearing loss. I wanted my hearing aid to be as inconspicuous as possible - invisible would have been best! Yes – I was vain. But my biggest concern was that people would associate my hearing loss with the negative stereotypes of hearing loss as slow, stupid, out of it and the unthinkable - OLD.
What were the consequences of keeping my hearing loss hidden? There were lots of them, and they all made my situation worse. I did a lot of “fake” hearing. I pretended to understand what people were saying, by reading their facial expressions, picking up a few words here and there, and trying to put the meaning all together. That is fine if you make the right guess. But if you make the wrong guess, it’s very embarrassing.
Communicating became exhausting and frustrating. I started dropping out of social situations, became withdrawn and depressed.
I wanted nothing less than a magical cure. I guess in a sense I got one. I got a cochlear implant.
The Miracle of the Cochlear Implant
In June 18, 2010 I received a cochlear implant made by Cochlear America and was able to hear words right away. What a joy! I could understand what people were saying, hear the birds singing, rain falling, breezes blowing and more.Today I hear in the average range, and to me that’s my miracle!.
Professional Life with Hearing Loss
I’ve had a successful career in Information-Technology Sales for the past thirty-five years, and have always loved educating my clients to possible solutions, doing my best to clarify how our solutions could benefit them, and helping them decide what will work best for them. At its heart, professional sales is a form of persuasive communications.
To compliment my sales skills I took many sales training courses. In 2008 I became a qualified administrator of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, one of the most scientifically validated psychological instruments, which has helped me understand and serve my clients even better. Gaining experience with the MBTI led me to coaching people interested in honing their sales techniques but also opened the path for coaching people to in accomplishing their life's goals in the area of Life Coaching.
Outside of my corporate work, I was a volunteer in the religious school run by my local church and eventually took over its leadership. This involved coordinating the school activities but also writing lesson plans, creating workshops and speaking with concerned parents. I trained to become a lay practitioner in my faith as well, another area involving learning ways to coach and work effectively with others. All of these experiences, in the workplace and in volunteer activities, were eye-opening for me. They revealed a talent I was unaware of - empowering people to do their best at whatever it is.
Onward to the Hearing Loss Revolution!
For me, my greatest disability has been hearing loss, but it’s also been my greatest gift. As I began to hear better, take advantage of assistive listening devices, and learn how to advocate for myself, demanding to hear and be heard, I realized something I’d never truly acknowledged to myself. As a person with hearing loss, I was actually contributing to the myths and misconceptions people tend to have about this communications disorder. I became determined to take a stand in the hearing-loss community and challenge those prevailing myths and misconceptions. As I’ve been doing this work, I’ve been discovering how much we lose, not simply because we can’t hear well, but because we let ourselves believe, somehow, that we’re “less then” those with good hearing, that it’s OK if we isolate ourselves, pretend we’re hearing when we’re not, and doing all those things that we hate when they’re done to us.
Today, not only do I hear in the average range, which is a true delight, but I also use my own experiences with hearing loss, corporate sales, and education to advocate for people with hearing loss and help others come to grips with it. It’s now my pleasure and delight to share these gifts with you, in this website, through our Community Forum, and in my workshops and coaching services.
Welcome to the Hearing Loss Revolution!