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The Power of Better Hearing — Micah’s Story

Treating your hearing loss benefits your life in so many ways, from building stronger relationships to advancing your career to discovering your passions and making your dreams attainable. For people born with hearing loss, these achievements are a lifelong testament to the exceptional care and support of their audiologists, as well as the importance of continually investing in better hearing.


From Diagnosis to Acceptance

At a very young age, Micah was diagnosed with Usher’s Syndrome Type 2A, which is a rare genetic mutation that causes mild to severe hearing loss as well as progressive vision loss. He is going blind from retinitis pigmentosa and has worn hearing aids as long as he can remember.

Growing up with this diagnosis was not easy. “I came to know the difference between the other kids and me when they pushed me down, imitated my slurred speech, and laughed,” he says. “The idea that my impairment signified me as ‘wrong’ rang out in the silence of everything else.”
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But with comprehensive hearing care at the hands of an empathetic provider who truly understood the isolation and social difficulties sensory deprivation can cause, Micah’s condition became manageable.

“I know a world of sound because of an audiologist and her team who were devoted to me for over 20 years — the team that fit me, gave me batteries, reminded me of appointments, cleaned my hearing aids, sent them off for repairs, and knew me as an individual. They have given me courage, confidence, and success. I owe them more than the world.”


From Acceptance to Success

Treating multidimensional sensory loss is not only challenging but requires a dedicated provider willing to work closely with their patient. In Micah’s case, this personal investment in helping him live with his unique diagnosis has allowed a formerly isolated child to blossom into a dynamic and fearless person who faces challenges head-on.

“Growing up empowered to become who I wanted to be, and to experience the world as it should be, had requirements that far exceeded the ‘cheapest available option,’” he says. “Amplification alone is not medical treatment. As my situation worsens, I will place my trust in those with the genuine interest in my situation and well-being, and the confidence to rise to the challenge.”

Micah credits his hearing care team with helping him develop the confidence and social skills necessary to pursue his passions and goals, which include music, poetry, and giving back to the hearing care community.

“I’ve been gifted the opportunity to be a musician, and the reality of everything that I have been gifted, in life and loss, has driven me to give all that I can back to the industry that cares for me,” says Micah. “Today I work hand in hand with private-practice providers around the country to deliver the utmost to each and every patient.”
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“Quite honestly, it took me 20 years to stand up straight to my condition, look it in the eyes, and call it my own. It is my hope that this story will […] act as a reminder of the cause hearing health care strives for.”


Contact us today to share your own experience with better hearing and let us know how it has improved your life!

How to Talk About Your Hearing Loss in Different Social Situations

A hearing loss advocate is open and can ask others to be the same. When you normalize hearing loss instead of hiding it, you lessen the negative stigma around a hearing impairment. Hearing your best means having the right technology for the environments you’re in most often — t speci cally to your unique hearing needs — and maximizing that technology with better communication strategies. Being honest with co-workers, family members, and friends about what you need is the rst step toward understanding.

Your loved ones are the most important people in your life, and they feel the same way about you. They are there to support you, but they may not know how. Here are our suggestions to help start that conversation.

TALK IT OUT.
Whether you’ve just been diagnosed with hearing loss or you’re t with technology, it’s best to speak to those closest to you about your hearing loss.

BE HONEST.
Explain how your daily activities are a ected by your hearing loss. Give speci c examples so they understand what they can do to help.

LET THEM KNOW.
If you wish your loved
ones would do something di erent or help you out, let them know. This can be an ongoing conversation.

There is value in knowing you’re not the only one in the workforce with hearing loss. Of the people with hearing loss, 60 percent are either in the workforce or in educational settings. These steps will help you talk to your employer about not only your hearing loss but how to help you continue to do your best work.

BUILD CONFIDENCE.
Talking to your employer about your hearing loss may be intimidating. To help build up your con dence, practice what you want to say to make sure you cover the important points.

HELP YOUR EMPLOYER.
Explain how your hearing loss a ects your duties at work. Come to your employer with solutions so they have a better understanding of how to help.

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS.
Learn your employer’s policy for supporting people with a disability or health condition, as well as what steps you can take together to ensure you’re able to do what you do best.

Depending on your personality and mood, the public can be the easiest or most dif cult to explain your hearing impairment to.

BE OPEN.
Explain that you have a hard time hearing, and ask for what you need. That addresses your hearing impairment while establishing a foundation for the conversation.

IT’S UP TO YOU.
Do not feel obligated to
tell everyone about your experience. The more you practice advocacy, the easier it will be to judge whether telling that person is helpful.

LAUGH IT OFF.
If someone has a negative reaction because you did not hear them, make light of the situation. Speaking directly
to what happened forces a conversation, which increases education and understanding.

Start breaking the stigmas.
Call us for more information on hearing loss, workplace rights, community programs, and how you can advocate against hearing loss stigmas.

5 Ways Better Hearing Can Improve Your Life

To many people, hearing loss is a topical problem with a topical solution: You can’t hear as well as you used to? Get hearing aids and you’ll be fine. But the reality is that hearing loss has far-reaching effects on all aspects of life — and better hearing can do wonders to reverse or mitigate those effects, whether it’s through using your hearing system more consistently or upgrading your current technology to improve your range of sound. Below are five ways that hearing your best can help you live the life you want to live:

1. Keep Your Brain Sharp.
Studies over the past few years by Johns Hopkins researchers have detailed a number of associations between hearing loss and decreased brain function. Individuals with untreated hearing loss face a greater likelihood of developing dementia and a much greater incidence of balance issues. Because hearing loss affects the auditory cortex of the brain — an area also associated with memory — lack of stimulation to that area can lead to atrophy. Researchers have found that even a mild hearing loss contributes to an additional square inch per year of brain shrinkage in seniors. Keeping the auditory cortex strong through stimulation, which is aided by hearing instruments, can help prevent cognitive troubles.

2. Increase Your Income Potential.
Being able to properly hear your co-workers, bosses, and clients is an important aspect of employment, but you may not have considered the benefit of better hearing in relation to your income potential. According to a 1999 survey by the National Council on Aging (NCOA), the net income difference reported among 51- to 61-year-olds is a difference of nearly $40,000 per year. Investing in better hearing can truly pay off.

3. Experience a Higher Overall Quality of Life.
Individuals with untreated hearing loss report greater dissatisfaction with their relationships, friendships, family life, health, and finances. The benefits of hearing aid treatment are found to be significant in study after study, with NCOA’s 1999 research revealing that those who received treatment saw vast improvements in relations at home, with children and grandchildren, and at work, as well as a greater sense of safety in general.

4. Improve Your Confidence.
One confounding aspect of hearing loss is that the very technology that makes lives better holds a certain stigma for the user, be it real or imagined. About one in five users admits to being embarrassed about wearing a hearing aid, but most users experience a breakthrough in self-image and self-confidence after experiencing what better hearing does for their lives. The NCOA survey states that hearing aids improve user self-image by about 50 percent on average, and self-confidence by about 39 percent on average.

5. See — and Hear — the Bright Side of Life.
Depression is more common in those with hearing loss, potentially because of a tendency to withdraw from social situations. Anxiety and paranoia are also more common, as is the perception of anger toward the individual with hearing loss. Hearing aids allow the user to experience more of what the world has to offer through better communication.

And if you’d like to upgrade your current system to something that allows you to better connect to the world around you, ask us how you can receive $500 off an upgrade, and we’ll show you what the latest technology can do to improve your life even more.

Take advantage of this offer now — the holidays are a great time to make sure you’re hearing your best!

Sincerely,

Dr. Stephanie R. Moore
Audiologist