Hearing Loss is a Chronic Condition.
A management project
I used to have really, really good hearing. Then one day – poof −I went deaf in my left ear in a matter of four hours. Tinnitus set in almost immediately. Although I regained a bit of hearing over time, life had changed – forever.
The ENT specialist informed me tersely that my “whole inner ear had gotten whacked.” There was good reason to believe that the hearing nerve was also damaged. “Fixing” anything was really not an option. From now on, I would be dealing pretty much with a chronic condition. Just like patients with heart disease and diabetes, I too would have to manage my life with hearing loss in it – forever. After a rocky start, the “management project” continues to this day.
Learning and getting Involved in one’s care
I learned pretty fast that hearing loss—like any other chronic condition—impacted every aspect of life. It affected me socially and emotionally, professionally and financially. As a panicked and stressed-out novice to the World of Hearing loss, my first step was to get as much information as possible. Looking back, that was my best move.
Amazingly, the more I learned about hearing loss and technology and resources, the more the emotions settled down, which was extremely helpful. Discussions with doctors and other specialists became a lot more fruitful. I joined a support group and gained skills for daily living and found support among my hearing loss peers.
I was told that the goal is to retain maximum quality of life and not to let persistent challenges dominate one’s existence. This was a raw truth that however made a lot of sense.
I can truly state that education set me free. I learned to incorporate hearing loss into daily life. I learned to cope with the many ups and downs without falling prey to fits of desperation and depression. Yet, the learning process is ongoing
Sailing one’s ship
Although chronic conditions sneak into one’s life, adjusting to them becomes eventually second nature. Certainly, hearing loss and its buddy tinnitus still hurl plenty of curve balls my way but I push the panic button a lot less frequently.
In the end, a quote by Louisa May Alcott – famously the author of Little Women – comes to mind: “I am not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship.” Still learning after all these years! The World of Hearing Loss is forever changing and the “chronic condition” never takes a day off!.
To learn more about hearing loss, see my book “What Did You Say? An unexpected Journey into the World of Hearing Loss” in its second, updated edition. Sharing my story and what I had to learn the hard way.