← Return to Hearing Loss Experiences - Can you find humor in some of it?

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@jshdma

Thank you, Julie. Yes, I have been tested and have a graph showing the downward path. It's depressing, for several reasons. One is that as a professional musician, I can never bring my instrument to the volume where it is often needed to be. I almost don't need to have testing– I know what is happening. It seems to me that opthamology is far more advanced than audiology. I have worn glasses my whole life, but then, millions of people wear glasses. Plus, , there are contact lenses. Cataracts are removed. Correcting bad hearing seems to be much less successful. I read about all the problems with hearing aids, and they are far from invisible. But I appreciate your advice.

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Replies to "Thank you, Julie. Yes, I have been tested and have a graph showing the downward path...."

It's amazing to know that prior to the 1980s very little research was being done on communication disorders; hearing loss in particular. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) did not have an institute for this until 1988. Other institutes within NIH had been in place for over a century. And, it wasn't until HLAA was incorporated in 1979 as Self Help for Hard of Hearing People, Inc. (SHHH) that people with partial deafness; the hard of hearing crowd, had an identity of their own, separate from the deaf population. (The name change took place in 2006 to allow more visibility on the internet.)

Because the hearing mechanism is placed deep in the skull, the prevailing medical attitude back then was that little research could be done in that area of the body except on cadavers. That all started to change in the 1960s when Graeme Clark of Australia developed the concept of being able to electronically stimulate the auditory nerve to get signals to the human brain for interpretation. The House Ear Institute in California was also pioneering this technology. This is the Cochlear Implant. (CI)

The prevailing belief was that the auditory nerve was 'dead or dying', thus the brain did not get what it needed to understand speech/sounds. The CI research has evolved amazingly over the past 50 years. Most importantly, researchers learned that most people with hearing loss had a live and functional auditory nerve. It was the tiny hair cells in the cochlea that were dying, thus most with hearing loss experience it as happening progressively. By bypassing the cochlea to stimulate the auditory nerve, they have been able to bring back hearing. CI's started as single channel technology and are now many times that. At first they only delivered sound. Today they deliver speech to most recipients. Now, that is truly a modern miracle. And, of course, hearing aids have come a long, long way in this time frame going from analog to digital, adding BlueTooth streaming, etc.

We all know that eye glasses have been around far longer than hearing devices. Correcting vision is done externally for the most part. It's hard to compare, isn't it? I feel so fortunate to be livng in a time where I've been able to benefit from the advanced technology of the last few decades.

We've all heard of Helen Keller, the woman who was both deaf and blind, and all she achieved in her life. One of my favorite quotes from her is "I am both deaf and blind. Blindness removes us from things; deafness removes us from people". How do you feel about that statement?

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