''I can hear my grand children like never before!''
Joy S. is a mother, grandmother and retired teacher who noticed the impact on her life when she realized she might have a hearing impairment.
About six years ago, Joy realized that she was having trouble hearing well in large groups of people.
“One-on-one interactions were okay, but I had trouble hearing in social situations where there was lots of background noise."
"At a party or restaurant, where many conversations were going on at once, I had a hard time following the conversation in my group. I realized my hearing wasn’t up to scratch, and I decided to do something about it.”
Joy was proactive about seeking treatment for her perceived hearing loss. She didn’t wait for her children or her friends to start telling her that she wasn’t hearing well. She wanted to hear better, and asked two friends who wear hearing aids about their audiologist. She took their recommendation, and made an appointment to visit that audiologist soon after.
“My audiologist was great. I wasn’t sure how I was doing on the hearing test, but she gave me good feedback. She showed me the hearing chart, and that my pattern of high-frequency hearing loss is quite normal for age-related hearing loss.”
Joy took the advice of her audiologist and chose to get hearing aids right away.
“The audiologist suggested hearing aids for both ears, since both ears had the same degree of hearing loss. She said if I only got a hearing aid for one ear, that ear would hear fine, but the hearing in the untreated ear would get worse. I definitely didn’t want that – so I got two hearing aids, and I love them.”
Joy got a pair of in-the-canal hearing aids that include up to five programmable options and a remote control. Joy noted that she uses the different programs on her hearing aids to help her hear well in different situations.
“When I walk into a noisy restaurant, the first thing I do is switch the program on my hearing aids. I can do it with one click of a button, and it helps to eliminate the background noise so I can follow the conversation at my table.”
Joy also found the programs on her hearing aids to be helpful in places where she didn’t expect it.
“It has been very helpful in the car! One of the programs cuts out the background noise, so in the car in I can focus on driving or on the other people in the car, and not hear the tires on the road or the sound of the wind blowing by the car. It has been a real help.”
Joy knows that some people still feel a stigma when wearing hearing aids – she felt it herself.
“I didn’t care if people thought I had a disability. I just didn’t want people to think I was old. I didn’t want to feel old.”
“But now, I would definitely encourage people to get them, and not to put it off. It’s not a big deal having them, and I don’t feel old after all! I’m happy to talk about them with people, and the truth is, they make a big difference in my life."
"I’d appear a lot older if I was saying “What?” every two minutes than I do wearing a discreet pair of hearing aids.”
Between golf games, bridge club and her work on a national women’s council, Joy shows no signs of slowing down.
“I didn’t want to be excluded from conversations with my family and friends because I couldn’t hear them. I love going to the theatre, to restaurants, and being around my friends and family."
"My hearing aids have kept me close to people, and they allow me to do the things I love to do. And that’s all that matters.”