From a speaker who can’t hear.
Above are my results from a recent hearing assessment (an audiogram—please note the grey areas in the four graphs as they indicate the ‘normal’ range!
The ‘bad’ left ear (one which has a history of operations) is only functioning at 25% and at 40db (bottom left graph), the volume most people speak at.
The ‘good’ right ear is also under-performing (bottom right graph)—just 50% at speaking volume—therefore, I’m basically picking up maybe half of what people are saying at best…
The specialist discussing my results last year stated I’ve probably become very good at figuring out what people are saying rather than totally understanding their words (this is not a compliment).
There are two options:
- hearing aids—for an instant fix to raise my hearing to within normal range;
- (potential) surgery—first on my ‘bad’ ear to raise the level of hearing before doing anything with the ‘good’ ear (as the latter has a retracted ear drum which could require surgery at some point before it causes further problems)
All of the above left me gutted at the end of last year and after recently gaining a second opinion it’s time to face reality and make some decisions.
You have to understand that most of my childhood is littered with memories and issues relating to my ear problems. The constant poor hearing, ongoing visits to speech therapists from about age six (as my deficient hearing meant I couldn’t hear sounds properly to form them—how ironic that part of my living now is made by public speaking: irony or awesome…?). Then the teenage years, living with constant ear infections and three big surgeries which ate up months of my life with long hospital stays and even longer recovery times.
There are three parts to the decision of accepting and exploring hearing aids as part of my future:
- Fun—to embrace this with a smile and surround it in joy. There’s simply nothing to get upset about. It is what it is and who knows what I’ll learn and discover about myself during the opportunity I’ve been given to go on this journey;
- Sign—it’s always been on my to do list but now it’s more relevant to learn sign language to supplement my hearing impairment;
- Hack—to explore the hearing aid hacker scene (inspired by the news of the tuning being done already to existing devices:
Any thoughts, ideas, assistance, advice, help, links etc to assist in this will be humbly received.