25-Year-Old With Sudden Hearing Loss Talks Coming To Terms With Diagnosis, Self-Advocating, & Normalizing Hearing Aids

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“Discovering you have hearing loss is an adjustment. No matter how significant the loss. There was a lot to grieve and cope with, at least there was for me, and sometimes there still is.

When I was first diagnosed with Otosclerosis, back in 2016 at the age of 25, I remember I left my appointment in tears. I went to that appointment thinking I just needed a cleaning, not that I would leave with the recommendation of getting a hearing aid.

hearing disabled woman in hearing test booth
Courtesy of April Corner

I was so upset because the thing was, I could still hear, just not in all situations.

About a month after my first appointment, I went back to be fitted for my first hearing aid. I was stubborn to wear it. At the time I could still hear just enough to get by, so I told myself things like, ‘I will only wear it in loud settings’ or ‘It’s just here if I need it.’

The truth was I did need it, right from the beginning.

It took me over a year to come to terms with the fact my hearing aids made my life easier, and there was nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed by. Now, don’t get me wrong, I still have many bad days, but I allow myself to have those days. Hearing loss is an ongoing journey and will always have its ups and downs.

hearing disabled woman showing hearing aid in ear
Courtesy of April Corner

In the Spring/Summer of 2020, I made a social media post announcing my hearing loss. This was when masks were first introduced, and I was noticing that communicating in public settings was getting harder. I felt if I told everyone at once it would be easier. And, to be honest, it was.

Hearing Loss Advocacy

Since my first public post about hearing loss, I have found so many more people in my life who have also struggled with hearing loss, and it was very comforting and eye opening. Hearing loss is not talked about enough because it is considered an invisible disability.

Since then, I have found speaking about my experiences with hearing loss has helped me cope in a lot of ways. That is why I created my channel, Hard To Hear It. I found getting my feelings out, whether to someone directly, on social media or in a journal, helped me process everything.

hearing disabled woman holding a hearing aid
Courtesy of April Corner

However, even though most people in my life knew about my hearing loss I found because I still looked the same, people struggled to remember I can’t always hear them. It can be really hard to advocate for yourself and to express your needs. I still struggle with this, but the more I inform people of the accommodations that help me, the easier it has become.

Hearing Loss Accommodations

Here are some of the accommodations I request for different situations:

  • I will never hear someone whispering to me (therefore, I need to be clear to that person they either need to speak up or take me into a private room if they need to share something they don’t want others to hear)
  • People need to face me when speaking
  • I need to take hearing breaks throughout the day in order to avoid feeling overstimulated
  • Captions are the only way I can enjoy video content
  • Patience is key for both parties

Hearing Loss & Hearing Aid Pride

It took me a while to fully appreciate my hearing aids, but I LOVE them (most days). Hearing aids are incredible little pieces of technology, and my goal is to change the way the world views people who wear them. I started a little shop called Hard To Hear It, with products that have hearing aid art on them. I want to make hearing aids as commonly seen and accepted as glasses.

The more we can talk about hearing aids and hearing loss, the more people will get help. Many people suffer from hearing loss but are too afraid or too embarrassed to take a hearing test. Your hearing health is connected to so much more than you realize, and by understanding it, you’re setting yourself up for success. Just like we get regular eye checkups, it’s so important to get regular hearing check-ups too.

mug with a design of a hand holding a hearing aid and flowers
Courtesy of April Corner

I believe a lot of the stigma comes from the fact that you only ever see 80-year-olds on hearing aid commercials and ads; let’s change that. I am 31 years old and rock my hearing aids every day, and I am proud of them.

Even though it took me over a year to come to terms with my diagnosis, when I did a weight lifted off of my shoulders. You still need to give yourself time to process, but as with everything in life, just take it one day at a time. There are so many incredible resources and companies out there that help connect and inform people about all the possibilities that come with our hearing aids and hearing loss.

It is so important to allow ourselves time to digest the frustrations we have to deal with on a daily basis. Hearing loss impacts many aspects of our lives, and if we don’t allow ourselves to digest what we are feeling, it won’t help improve the situation.

Courtesy of April Corner

This story was submitted to Love What Matters  by April Corner from Ontario, Canada. You can follow her journey on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. You can check out her products here. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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