This is a concluding post to the series My Hearing aids and I.
The earlier posts can be found in the below links
Part 1 - Link here
Part 2 - Link here
Part 3 - Link here
When I first signed up to the Canadian Hearing Society, I was offered a number of services I could take advantage of. One of them was counselling / therapy for people who had hearing loss.
I realized, this was something I needed to take advantage of to adjust to the reality of wearing behind the ear hearing aids. Counselling was something I knew I needed to do, it looked like it was time to get to it.
I was matched with an amazing counsellor and we started the process. It took me three months to decide to go ahead and start counselling. I figured the whole process would be a couple of weeks tops and I'd be back to see Tommy about my hearing aid decision.. Little did I know how much work was ahead of me...
When I first met my counsellor, I honestly was not sure what to expect out of the sessions we would have. I figured there will be a couple of sessions like the movies and all will be well.
That was not the case. There was a lot to unpack, right from the feelings I had from being bullied about my hearing loss at a young age, to incidences that had happened during the course of my life that made me feel ashamed to be someone who was hearing impaired as well as the frustrations I had dealt with, from being an independent person finding my own way in new countries.
My counsellor asked many questions that made me realize I had a lot of things I needed to acknowledge and work on.
One of the things that she mentioned was defensiveness.
I will explain, Unconsciously I was constantly on the defensive for any attack or any feedback someone could have potentially about me. In my mind, I was doing the best I could with the circumstances I was faced, so anyone providing any comments must be doing it from a place of lack of understanding. Whilst some feedback / comments or just normal incidences could be really just what it was. Somehow I took everything as a form of criticism and was always quick to provide a response for most things. It was not that I wasn't willing to take ownership or responsibility for anything. (I even overdo this sometimes) but the defensiveness was really just the first natural response I would have to things.
It seems the reason why this happened was because I was instinctively protective of myself from being attacked in any form or manner (the bullying played a part) I was always ready to "push back". Working to manage this trait made a huge difference in my career and personal relationships, as I took the time to try to process my reactions in a slower manner, and approach things from a conciliatory manner as much as possible.
With the hearing aids, I needed to understand why I was incredibly uncomfortable with people knowing I wore hearing aids. Not that I was ashamed of it, I just was not comfortable with it. I didn't know if it stemmed from my private nature or what exactly it was. I discovered the reason for this in counselling. (It really should have been obvious but it was not to me at the time)
It was not normalized for me. It was an exception for me.
I was the only person I knew who had hearing impairment, I never really met anyone else I could relate with that was hearing impaired or had in-depth conversations with people I could relate with around their experience. They simply were not on my radar. All the people I knew were much older individuals. I was not following any hearing blogs or subscribed to any hearing newsletter or anything. It was simply this space where I was alone and no one to really talk to about it with, or get second opinions with or anyone to normalize it with.
One of the assignments I got was to go explore on social media and the internet, social media pages and forums for individuals with hearing loss. My oh my, it felt like a whole new world opened up to me when I found them. I found so many pages and sites, it was unbelievable how much was out there. Anyone that says the internet is not a blessing. Sorry to them
I found my hearing aids (both the old and would-be hearing aids) manufacturer's page on Instagram. I saw that they had done a couple of spotlights on real human people who I could relate with wore hearing aids and were really thriving. I found so many Instagram pages dedicated to people with hearing loss, features of individuals, found their respective social media pages and they all lived thriving amazing lives. I came across some inspiring individuals. These were actors, DJs, product developers, CEOs. It was amazing
Some proudly wore their hearing aids (some which were the behind-the-ear type) and talked about which ones they had used. I saw that the younger ones who wore hearing aids had turned them into very attractive fashion accessories.
Reading articles that articulated how I felt in certain situations, (this was when I learnt "Listening Fatigue" was a thing) and seeing how our challenges were so similar across board was really enlightening.
I found an exceptional mentor who was everything I was aspiring to be and guess what, she was hearing impaired too! She also shared with me resources that would make my life so much easier.
What's more, I even found resources that I could use and signed up to newsletters that would add incredible value to my every day life that and would help me cope better with my hearing loss. It was truly incredible.
This was really the "aha moment" I needed and changed everything for me.
Once I got used to this and it was normalised for me, I was ready for my new behind the ear hearing aids.
What I appreciate about Dr. Tommy was that he never pushed, he never pressured, he was incredibly patient with ALL the questions I asked. He gave me the honest facts I needed to make a decision with the different devices available and left the final decisions up to me.
I went away and did research (I mean I had the tools now) on all the behind-the-hearing aids that were available at the time and decided I was going to get the best in class hearing aids. It was a huge investment, but i figured, either I go big or go home.
I settled for the Phonak Marvel. What helped in the decision making was that there was a young lady Toyosi Alexis, who was also Nigerian and she really made the hearing aids look super cool and classy, which was in line with my every day style. The hearing aids were RECHARGABLE (no more spending money on batteries!!! or running out) and could also function as Bluetooth earphones for me to listen to my music with from my phone. Honestly when I heard that last part, I was sold. I would do a more detailed review of my Phonak Marvel in an upcoming post. Stay tuned for that.
Tommy and I met a couple of times and I was really looking forward to the hearing aids.
They were beautiful and I love wearing them. I listen to music with them when i am on the move and take my calls with them too. Nothing beats the standard earphones for sure but these are an amazing and suitable alternative.
I am glad to have come to a place of full acceptance of my hearing aids and they have now become one of my most cherished possessions.
Thank you for coming on this journey with me and would really be happy to have any questions you may have!