For Michelle, seeing an audiologist has always been a regular part of her life. As a child, she recalls all the fun she had during her visits to the audiologist. “I think going to my own audiologist for all these years really makes me realize how special it is.” Michelle recently graduated and is now an audiologist herself.
Her itinerant teacher always told her that she was a great advocate for people with hearing loss and made her feel like she would be a special addition to this field.
The road to becoming an audiologist wasn’t always smooth. Michelle says that the hardest part for her was the transition between High School and University. She attributes this to the increased classroom size and the unfamiliarity of her classmates.
“I was always comfortable in my (high school) class, bringing up the FM to the teacher, no one cared, it was accepted. But in University you don’t always feel like that, you’re trying to make good first impressions with everyone, so walking up through the classroom everyday and giving the teacher the FM system is really stressful.”
She knew that she needed the FM to hear in class, so she did this every day, even though sometimes it made her feel awkward or uncomfortable. Sometimes you have to do hard things to achieve the end goal.
Now that she is an audiologist, Michelle finds that her own hearing loss is really good for building rapport with some of her patients. “I would tell them about my hearing and they would be so curious to know how long I’ve had my hearing loss and why isn’t it more noticeable, they would tell me you’re functioning very well, and my answer is, well, you can! It gives them hope.”
Here are some of Michelle’s tips for helping you hear in noise:
- Face the speaker
- Have a buddy – someone who can help fill you in on what’s going on,
- Don’t be a passive listener and pretend that you can hear. If you are going out, you want to be involved
- Don’t be afraid to ask people to repeat or ask them to go somewhere quieter.
- There are certain strategies specific to hearing aids, like if you are in a restaurant, you sit with your back to the noise, because most technology has noise cancelling options.
Michelle says she has never met another audiologist with hearing loss in person but that there are a lot out there.
“Actually there is a group of audiologists on Facebook with hearing loss and I am a part of that group. Most are in the States, but people talk about different modifications that you can make – I worry about listening to hearing aids with and already damaged auditory system. There are certain parts of our job that will be tough with hearing loss, but people give each other tips. It acts as a support group as well as an information source if you have hearing aids or a cochlear implant. There are so many resources and ways to share information.”
Don’t be afraid to seek out resources like Michelle did.
Join the CHHA-NL Young Adult Resource Group Facebook Page to connect with individuals like Michelle.Share: