Hearing loss is something most of us have had to deal with in some shape or form in our lives. While not all of us directly have experienced hearing loss or impairment, most of us probably know someone who has. Be it family, friends, or even co-workers, chances are that one or more people you know or have interacted with have some sort of hearing problem.
Growing up both my grandfather and my great-grandfather on my mom’s side were hard of hearing. They both had worked near loud machinery that damaged their hearing when they were younger and as they got older their symptoms worsened. While both knew that they had trouble hearing neither would try to get help for their problems. Claiming that they were fine and that they didn’t need help. My great grandpa, after some heavy convincing, finally went for a check-up and was fit for a hearing aid. But after maybe a month or so of wearing it, he claimed it was uncomfortable and stopped wearing it.
We all knew that the majority of the problem was that they both were stubborn and didn’t think they needed help. While they themselves might have thought this, the rest of the family sure didn’t agree. Whenever I would visit either of my grandpas I would love to see them, but it was challenging at times to talk with them. From constantly repeating myself or having to speak louder and louder it became hard to have a conversation with them.
Before my great-grandfather passed away his hearing loss had progressed to the point where he would have to read our lips or act like he knew what we were saying, which in most cases he would usually guess wrong. At a family get together he started to stray from conversation because he couldn’t keep up with more than one or two people at a time. It was sad to see because my great-grandfather always loved to interact with people and talk to them and seeing him quietly sitting in the corner is something that upset the whole family. But no matter how hard we tried he wouldn’t get the appropriate help.
The story is no different for my grandfather. My grandfather has been struggling with hearing loss for as far back as I can remember. He is generally a more reserved and quiet person, which I think is mostly because of his difficulty hearing. Hearing loss can be a crippling thing and can lead to social withdrawal and I think for him he finds it uncomfortable trying to understand what someone is saying so he finds it easier to refrain from conversation as much as he can.
When it comes down to it only the person suffering from hearing loss can truly help themselves. No matter how much someone’s family or friends wish or advise them to seek professional health it takes their decision to get the ball rolling. The first step is realizing there is nothing wrong with admitting that you have a hearing problem. You’re not alone though there is help out there, all it takes is a trip to your local audiologist to find out what treatments are available and right for you.