Hearing management

Updated 14 December 2017

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

Dr Kara Hoffman graduated from UCT in 2004, thereafter she completed her year of community service in Durban. In 2010 she completed her Masters Degree in Paediatric Aural Rehabilitation from UKZN. In 2016, she became a Doctor of Audiology through the University of Arizona (ATSU). Dr Hoffman and her partner Lauren Thompson opened a fully diagnostic audiology practice called Thompson & Hoffman Audiology Inc. In 2011 with world-class technology and equipment to be able to offer the broad public all hearing-related services including hearing testing for adults and babies, vestibular (balance) assessments and rehabilitation, industrial audiology, hearing devices, central auditory processing assessments for school-aged children, school screening, neonatal hearing screening programmes at Alberlito and Parklands Hospital, cochlear implants and other implantable devices, medicolegal assessments and advanced electroacoustic assessments of hearing. Thompson and Hoffman Audiology Inc. are based at Alberlito Hospital in Ballito, St Augustines Hospital in Durban and at 345 Essenwood Road, Musgrave. The practices are all wheelchair friendly. There are three audiologists that practice from Thompson & Hoffman – including Dr Kara Hoffman, Lauren Thompson & Minette Lister. The practice boasts professional, highly qualified, and extensive diagnostic services where all your hearing healthcare needs can be met. The additional licensing in vestibular assessment and rehabilitation, paediatric rehabilitation and cochlear implantation places this practice in one of the top specialist audiological positions in South Africa, with a wealth of experience in all clinical areas of audiology and is a very well respected and sought-after practice.

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