Almost anyone who has hearing loss would like to say goodbye to it.
Some people, however, are so comfortable with their hearing loss that they would refuse a cure if it were offered. (So they say.) The rest of us, however, would gladly say good riddance and enjoy becoming a hearing person again, or for the first time. Unfortunately, for now and the foreseeable future (which, in my case, means until I pass this earth), we don’t have that choice. When we develop hearing loss, we get to keep it. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.
So, when we perform our bedtime hearing aid ritual, hopefully putting it into a drying aid for its nightly spa treatment, we say goodnight and not goodbye. Perhaps you remove your devices automatically without giving any thought to the day that has just finished. Or maybe you say something else, something less polite? Maybe it was a rough hearing day and you vent your frustrations by swearing at the poor hearing aid or sound processor (which were only doing their jobs).
The chances are slim-to-zilch that our hearing loss will auto-correct during the night. But for a few hours, in our dreams, hearing challenges disappear. I don’t say pardon in my dreams and I don’t have tinnitus, either. But in the morning, when we wake, our hearing comes back to life with its limited ability, waiting expectantly for us to attach at least one device to our head. And then we’re off on another day of dealing with our communication challenges the best that we can.
The best as we can. It’s easier now than ever before to improve our communication, to soar beyond the level of hearing that shows on our audiograms. And we drive that success, using technology in all its amazingness, using clear speech and best communication practices and encouraging it in others, reducing background noise where we can, seeking help from hearing professionals, and accepting peer support from other people with hearing loss.
Sometimes, on a bad day, we might suspect that technology manufacturers and professional hearing car providers are deliberately trying to frustrate us. (Admit it, you have those thoughts from time to time.) But the opposite is true; what they do, helps us hear better. Personally, I’m gobsmacked at the dramatic, progressive developments I’ve seen in assistive technology in the past 20 years. So, when I give my hearing aid and cochlear implant sound processor some TLC at night, I need to offer up a little gratitude for the forward march of hearing technology that gives me an increasingly better communication life. My new TV streamer is a wonderful example; I had no idea what I was missing, such as all the background sounds not captured by the captions.
Tonight, I won’t be saying goodbye to my hearing loss. I’ll be saying a grateful goodnight to my hearing technology, thankful that it will be there in the morning when I need it.