As you may know I lost my hearing dramatically, falling asleep one night twenty years ago with my hearing intact only to awaken the next morning with the majority of my hearing gone. After consulting with Otolaryngologists (ENTs) and Neurologists, the reason for this is still undetermined. The Audiologist suggested I needed hearing aids, which to my dismay were not and are still not covered by most insurance plans and were prohibitively expensive.
Unable to afford them, my first set were donated to me by a local charity. Hearing aids do not, against contrary belief, fix all hearing loss. They simply amplify sound - all sound - not just what I want to hear - the sound of your voice sitting with me in a restaurant, but also the background music, the clang of glasses, dishes, utensils, waitstaff, other diner's voices, etc. I finally reached the point where I could no longer participate in meetings of the organizations in which I belonged. The phone became increasingly more difficult for me to use. I began to feel more and more isolated resulting in a deep depression.
Finally in 2019, I underwent Cochlear Implant surgery after careful evaluation and the wonderful assistance of HLAA. It's been a long journey to retrain my brain to interpret and distinguish the sounds I hear as voices, birds singing, a clock ticking and the myriad of sounds that permeate my everyday environment.
With the pandemic came new hurdles. Even with the Cochlear Implant and my hearing aid I rely on speech reading. The masks make it impossible for me to read someone's lips and facial expressions necessary for me to understand what is being said. Imagine how frightening this can be in a medical setting when I'm unable to understand what is being asked of me or when given dosing information on new medications. God, forbid I got Covid and there wouldn't be anyone there to help me interpret or explain what is happening to me. The plexiglass barriers are making it even more difficult. Any sound I might have been able to make out with the masks prior to these being installed, is now impossible to make out.
At the end of my day, I am exhausted, suffering from hearing fatigue - the struggle to make sense of every sound I can possibly hear throughout my day. We are extremely fortunate to have HLAA, an organization committed to assisting those suffering with hearing loss disabilities. By donating to and participating in the Walk4Hearing, you are increasing visibility to an otherwise invisible disability. HLAA gives people with hearing loss the resources they need to live successfully and the knowledge that they don't have to face it alone. We look forward to your participation and support of this very worthy and noble cause.
Saturday Oct 2
Crown Point in Mission Bay
700 Corona Oriente Road
San Diego, CA
9 a.m. Registration/Check-in
10 a.m. Walk starts