“Catie you have profound hearing loss in both your right and left ears. You are hearing with the capacity of a 70 year old person.” I couldn’t believe what Dr. Lo was telling me – well I kind of could – maybe I was just in denial. Tears streamed down my face. “You really need hearing aids”.
Okay okay let’s back up the bus a bit here. You’re probably asking yourself how I got myself to this point. To be honest I never really gave much thought to my hearing. As silly as it sounds I kind of just assumed my straining was normal. Despite some people in my life casually mentioning my hearing, it never occurred to me that I was different than anyone else. That continued until I had been at my current job for almost a year. I spend the entire day on the phone and I started to notice I was misunderstanding more and more conversations. I was also finding myself to be extremely exhausted by the time 5PM rolled around. It wasn’t a physical exhaustion really it was more a mental exhaustion – if that makes any sense. So I asked my family doctor to send me to an Ear Nose and Throat Specialist (ENT) for a hearing test.
I saw Dr. Shirley Lo at the end of November for my appointment. During my hearing test the audiologist stopped all of a sudden to ask me “Have you ever worn hearing aids before?” YIKES I thought to myself – this isn’t going well. After the test was complete I was taken to another room to meet with Dr. Lo about the results.
And now we find ourselves where this post started off. “Catie you have profound hearing loss in both your right and left ears. You are hearing with the capacity of a 70 year old person.” Dr. Lo informed me that she had never seen results so poor from a person of my age. She told me that I definitely needed hearing aids in both ears and felt that due to my age I would respond extremely well and would be able to take great advantage of the advancements in hearing aid technology. I started to cry. Dr. Lo looked completely heartbroken for me and grabbed me a Kleenex box from across the room – I guess she wasn’t used to this kind of response from her patients.
Every single instance where I had to say pardon to someone or nod because I had already said pardon twice, every joke I felt I didn’t understand, every time I felt awkward in a social situation came flooding back to me. Holy shit I couldn’t hear! Based on my hearing test results Dr. Lo drew the conclusion that my hearing loss was likely hereditary and that I had probably been learning to adapt to it since my mid-teens. She was extremely impressed with my diction and clarity given the level of my hearing loss.
I made an appointment at Connect Hearing Clinic about a month later for another hearing test and to be fitted for my new aids. As I sat once again in that sound-proof booth I actually thought to myself “hmmm maybe they were wrong the first time” knowing full well that wouldn’t be the case. The results were the exact same as the previous test. That day I picked out my two hearing aids.
About a week later my aids were ready to be picked up. The audiologist took great care in making sure I had chosen aids that were suited to my lifestyle and as streamlined as possible. They matched my hair and honestly, it was love at first sound. Since that day, it has been almost 3 months with my hearing aids – I still cannot believe everything I was missing. Coach’s nails on the hardwood floor, the rustling of papers at work, I even heard the rain for the first time in who really knows how long.
Of course there was that part of me, that very small part, that worried what people would think of me once they noticed I was wearing hearing aids. But when I went to my parents house that first day wearing my new aids – my Dad told me how proud he was of me for facing my hearing impairment head-on and I thought to myself “I am who I am” hearing aids included.