Robb Boss believed he was doing “just fine” coping with his conductive hearing loss. A successful oncology sales representative with a leading pharmaceutical company, Robb’s personable and intelligent communication with colleagues and clients has led to much success and satisfaction for the 41-year-old. But, a brief conversation with a co-worker helped Robb see the downside of his untreated unilateral conductive hearing loss and take action.
After “pretending” to hear nearly his whole life, Robb decided that improving his hearing would improve relationships at work and with the people who matter the most– his family. “I was living my life pretending I could hear, Robb says. “It started hindering communication within the family and professionally. We have five girls and they all have tones of voices that I just couldn’t hear at all.”
Several weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend an educational program for a group of audiologists. During the course of this event, I shared my own experience of hearing loss as well as common issues amongst those within the hearing loss community. Additionally, I expressed to the audiologists their vital role in assisting hearing loss patients.
In sharing my personal testimony with the audiologists, I expressed that we are all created for relationships. In order to have an effective relationship with anyone– family, coworker, or friend– we must be able to clearly communicate with one another. Communication is the most basic and essential human interaction. [click to tweet] But sometimes it is challenging and even breaks down. In fact, everyone at some time or another has encountered some sort of confusion, misunderstanding, and/or conflict due to a failure in communication. Miscommunication is a common issue that people face with a normal hearing range, add to that a hearing impairment in which day-to-day, moment-to-moment communication is a challenge. Hearing loss puts an added obstacle to successful communication and successful relationships.
I also conveyed that the more I talk with others that have hearing loss, the more I recognize the common trends amongst us:
Fatigue at the end of the day from straining to hear.
Constantly trying to position one’s self to hear others.
Frequent requests for repetition or clarification.
Avoidance of social situations because of difficulty following conversations, especially in noisy environments, that could lead to isolation and depression.
Tendency to assume what is said when not hearing someone due to the apprehension of asking them to repeat himself/herself.
Propensity to stare at a person when he/she is talking in order to make it easier to understand what he/she is saying.
By expressing my personal experience as well as common issues, I was then able to communicate to the audiologists what a critical role they play in the life of someone who has hearing loss. Their initial responsibilities include interpreting the results of the audiological evaluation and coordinating with other medical, educational, and psychological professionals information in order to determine a diagnosis and a course of treatment. After diagnosis, an audiologist presents options and opinions for treatment. This is when their role becomes vital. My audiologist’s opinion greatly influenced me as to which device I should consider. Other than choosing the Ponto Pro hearing solution, the most encouraging part of the process involved the audiologist following up with me. Personally reprogramming the Ponto to maximize the effectiveness for my individual needs and preferences had a tremendous impact on the successfulness of my experience.
I have come to appreciate my audiologist and audiologists in general as they strive to assist others in overcoming some of the hearing issues that affect communication. By taking the steps mentioned above, they not only help improve hearing, they also help improve relationships. Audiologists have the unique ability to greatly assist those with hearing loss improve their quality of life.