Hearing management

Updated 19 September 2016

Marissa's journey: the wonder of everyday sounds

Recently, for two weeks I had silence around me again. It has made me realise how being able to hear everyday sounds makes me feel I belong.

My earpieces had to go in to be fixed and for two weeks I had silence around me again. It has made me realise how being able to hear everyday sounds makes me feel I belong.

Fortunately I have my earpieces back now – not to be able to hear anything had a big effect on my confidence and sense of belonging. I can feel my level of self-confidence dropping if I don't wear my hearing aids, and this has made me realise how dependent I've become on being able to hear sound.

I find it very frustrating not being able to hear, especially when I'm working. These hearing aids have become an essential part of my daily life, and they make me feel like an integral part of what is happening around me.

The importance of the sounds of everyday life
It's wonderful to be able to hear people's footsteps, cups clinking in the kitchen when people are making tea, the clients and other beauty therapists laughing and talking. Even if I don't always understand what's being said, it makes me feel at home and comfortable and that I belong. Sound signifies life to me.

People sometimes complain about noise, but believe you me, if you've spent 18 years of your life in complete silence, you will enjoy every second of it. I cannot get enough of the sounds around me, and to be able to identify different sounds has become like a game to me.

Sometimes I close my eyes and try just to listen and recognise the sound I'm hearing, and to see whether I understand where it's coming from and what it means. But I do realise that there's still so much that I need to learn regarding the world of sound.

The meaning of sounds have to be learnt
It might sound strange for people who have always been able to hear, but remember, my brain doesn't recognise sounds like other people's brains do. I have to learn and remember what sounds are like and what they mean.

I may never be able to differentiate words
The experts say that my brain may never be able to recognise and differentiate different words, because I couldn't hear anything for 18 years, but if I must be honest, it's not that important to me, even though it would be really great if it happened.

What is really important to me is to hear the sounds of my immediate environment. That opens up the world to me, gives me self-confidence, and makes it a lot easier for me to lipread. I find it difficult to describe what I'm experiencing – I realise that it must be difficult for people, who have never been in this situation, to understand what it's like.

I'm grateful for the opportunity that came my way via widex, and with the speech and hearing therapy I'm receiving. I do believe that things can only get better. Every little thing that I hear and learn is a wonderful bonus to me. I also know that there are many people out there with hearing problems who can only dream of the opportunity that I have had. A life spent in silence is not easy.

Where I am going to end up, I don't know, but what I do know, is that a positive attitude at this point is essential. So are perseverance and patience – and I believe I have a fair quantity of both. I am very happy about what I can experience now and what I have now. (Health24)


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Hearing Expert

AuD degree obtained in 2013 at AT Still University Health Science Depart-ment, Arizona. Masters in Communication Pathology at the University of Pretoria, 2003. Remedial Teaching Diploma at Rand University, 1996. Degree in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology at the University of Pretoria, 1993. Owner of a private practice in Pretoria since 1999. Educating the community regarding early identification of hearing problems and screening of new-borns. Providing assistance and services at retirement homes. Part-time lecturer at the University of Pretoria and the University of Limpopo. External examiner at the University of Pretoria and the University of Limpopo. Presenter at conferences and seminars.

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