Hearing management

23 March 2005

Heading for the hearing world

I am looking for accommodation close to work and that is going to mean that I will find myself entirely in a hearing environment. The prospect is quite daunting.

It has been raining here – real pancake and DVD weather.

Things are going very well with my ears. I have been wearing the hearing aids non-stop for the last two weeks and I have not experienced any problems during this time. Last Friday my ears were a little swollen, but once I gave them a bit of a breather and let them dry out properly at the weekend, they were fine again.

I am now working full time at a beauty salon and now have quite a full programme. I am working among hearing people who know little about those who are hard-of-hearing.

It is important to me to wear the hearing aids all the time, to keep me focused on speech and hearing. Even though my brain does not understand language, the fact that I can hear background noises and the sound of human voices is important to me in my work at this stage.

Working and living in the hearing world
My clients are wonderful and have much patience with regards to my communication problems. I am also looking for accommodation close to work and that is going to mean that I will find myself entirely in a hearing environment. There will be no one around who knows or understands sign language, or who will be able to help me with communication.

On the one hand the prospect is quite daunting, but I have learnt not to be scared of new challenges. There are still so many hearing people who have such misperceptions about deaf people.

The deaf are normal people
I would like to spread the message that hearing people should start to look at the deaf differently. We are normal, intelligent people. The only thing that is different is that can't hear or speak normally, but we are certainly not stupid or uninformed.

I do believe that the exposure to a hearing environment, with the help of my Widex hearing aids, will benefit me greatly and will help me better my speech and my mindset towards hearing.

Being deaf is like having a puncture on a wheel – it holds you back tremendously, but there are fortunately pumps that can inflate those tyres a little. In the same way Widex gives deaf people a bit of a lift. And that is exactly what the hearing aids have done for me. They have made a big difference to my life and have done wonders for my self-confidence and sense of dignity.

I so wish I could have had this chance as a child, as I could have benefited from it so much more. But I do believe that it is never too late to make a difference – you just need perseverance.

Friday I am meeting my new speech therapist. Sometimes it feels as if everything is going too slowly for my liking, but when I look back to where my journey with Widex started, I can clearly see the progress that has been made up to now. I am looking forward a lot to the next three years of my contract with Widex.


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Hearing Expert

Francis Slabber is a Speech & Language Therapist and Audiologist who has owned and run The Hearing Clinic in Wynberg, Cape Town for the last 17 years. Francis and her team have extensive experience in fitting and supplying hearing aids as well as assistive living devices. Francis has served as the Western Cape Chairperson for the South African Association of Audiologists for three years and has given many talks on the topic of hearing loss and amplification. The Hearing Clinic has a special interest in adult and geriatric hearing impairment, hearing aid fittings and hearing rehabilitation.

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