“I got a new watch.” “What kind is it?” “11:30.”
Sound familiar? Hearing loss sneaks up on you. People start mumbling, or an old friend calls, and you have to let them talk a few minutes before you know who it is. You call customer service, but you can’t understand them because they have an accent. You are always asking clerks or servers to repeat whatever they say. People, especially young people, talk too fast for you to understand them. The pandemic hits and everyone is wearing a mask, making understanding nearly impossible. Then the moment of reckoning comes—your best friend calls and leaves a message. You play it twice. Still, you can’t understand it. It’s your best friend, and you can’t understand her! Denial just isn’t working anymore. Time to face it; you have hearing loss that you have to deal with.
What to do? So many questions, so little information. Where to turn? I saw an article in the SaddleBrooke newspaper about hearing loss and a group called Hearing VIBES, which meets on Zoom and now again in person. I sent an email asking for the link to their next meeting. The fear and anxiety of feeling alone in my hearing loss quickly melted away as I found a group of knowledgeable and supportive people who welcomed me and shared their experiences. They provided information and resources to get me started on researching hearing aids and providers and gave me confidence to venture into a world that was previously unknown to me. They threw me a lifeline in the middle of a pandemic.
Hearing VIBES is more than just your friends and neighbors meeting over Zoom to discuss their personal experiences. The group has invited audiologists to give presentations on the very complicated process of how hearing works, the types of hearing loss, the meaning of hearing test results, as well as what to expect when you visit an audiologist. They offer flyers, checklists, informative websites, and even a list of YouTube videos with a plethora of useful information. In a few short months, I went from feeling “in the dark” to being an informed consumer. With the help of a good audiologist, I was able to choose hearing aids and finally start moving along on my hearing journey. What seemed like a mountain I wouldn’t be able to climb turned out to be a small bump in the road. Who knew?
If you are facing (or refusing to face) hearing loss, you are not alone. Contact Hearing VIBES and begin your journey. What are you waiting for?
Meetings for The Discussion Group for Better Hearing are now hybrid (Zoom and in person) and gather the second Friday monthly from 10 to 11 a.m. in SaddleBrooke TWO MountainView Sonoran Room and via Zoom. For questions and/or Zoom sign up, contact Jennifer Jefferis at [email protected] or 360-909-6212, Lyle Larson at [email protected] or 360-910-5691, or Dick Kroese at [email protected] or 520-204-0968.