May is Better Speech and Hearing Month. Because I spent the better part of May in the hospital undergoing testing, spending 10 days in a coma on a ventilator sedated and lucky to be alive, as well as rehabilitating physically and cognitively; I think we can excuse the delay. This past month, advocates such as myself, are working to raise awareness. In today's world, we have fantastic technology. One of the inherent risks of this fabulous technology is the potential for noise-induced hearing loss. I say this because we should be protecting our hearing everyday.
I once had a older woman come up to me while I was at college and blast me for being so reckless with my hearing. Well, the fact of the matter is that I never had a choice. I was born without most of my hearing and I've worn hearing aids and cochlear implants since I was diagnosed at the age of 4. This woman's attempts at "changing the world" were misdirected and she judged me before she knew the complete story. When I explained myself, she was terribly embarrassed that she had made such a mistake. Individuals like myself and my family have congenital (genetic) hearing loss.
While some people are born without the nerves to hear like me (sensorineural hearing loss), others are born without the typical anatomy that would allow them to hear normally.
Unlike many teenagers my age, I can count on one hand how many times
I have been to a concert (and they were all after I became completely deaf). The reality is that every time you go to a rock concert, you risk losing more and more of your hearing. You know that ringing in your ears after hearing a loud sound? That's called tinnitus and it leads it eventual hearing loss. That is preventable and that is what I want to take this opportunity to educate you on.