I have had my current Hearing Aid for about a year now.
I had been putting off buying a new one for ages, but after a long time of tolerating my previous aid, which wasn’t designed for my Sensorineural hearing loss, I wanted to be able to hear more with an aid that would actually suit my needs.
Why had I been putting it off...?
Because unfortunately, my application for government funding assistance through the NDIS scheme was rejected.
Even though I have no hearing at all in my left ear and have only got about 40% hearing in my right, the government has deemed that I am not deaf enough to require assistance for a hearing aid. They don’t think it is necessary for my day to day living and quality of life.
So, I have to fund my own. And these pieces of equipment do not come cheap!
I still really struggle in social situations and hearing people speak to me in noisy environments is almost impossible. I often feel incredibly alone at parties and functions. Even with my new hearing aid in, it's just the way it is, unfortunately.
There is a misconception that if you wear a hearing aid, you then have perfect hearing. That's not true at all. It most certainly increases the volume of what you're listening to and provides the wearer with a clarity of sound that you don't have without it. But at the end of the day, I am still hearing impaired while I'm wearing my hearing aid.
Day to day interactions at home with my family are often a struggle because I can’t follow all of what everyone is saying and often miss a lot. I miss out on banter and funny jokes in conversations we have with our family and friends, which are so important to be a part of when you’re developing relationships and rapport with people. To have the government say that I am not deaf enough to qualify for help hurts me deeply as they have absolutely no understanding of the struggles that people with hearing loss face every day.
With my new aid I am able to hear things like the sound of rain falling outside and hearing people speaking in the next room. I am able to receive a call on my mobile phone and actually hear what the person is saying to me, as it is streamed directly into my hearing aid. I can even hear YouTube videos much more clearly too as the sound is streamed in the same way as a phone call is.
While this is all really positive, the stress of having to hand over such a huge amount of money makes the experience of getting a new hearing aid a bittersweet one. Hearing aids also only have about a 5-6 year life span, so having to come up with this kind of money regularly is really stressful. I can't be without my device, so it's an expense I have to prioritise.
Hopefully the NDIS will do a review on the way they do things, how they assess people and the way they decide on the things that people require for their quality of life.
Anyway... here’s to being able to hear the sound of individual rain drops falling outside again. Something that, every time I hear it, brings a smile to my face.