#HearingLossHour: A Silent Revolution?

When I suffered sudden sensorineural hearing loss, it was a very isolating experience. Before I discovered Phonak BiCROS aids, I was pretty much unable to converse with people other than by using a Sonido device. The Sonido is a handheld device the size of a cordless phone, which has a microphone and amplifier and a socket that I plugged a ‘one good ear bud‘ in. I was mortified at having to use it outside of the house but it was the only way I could go back to work and do my job as a trainer.

When I first became deafened, however, I suffered terrible vertigo and sickness and I had several days where I couldn’t move my head at all. The only thing I managed to focus on was my mobile phone, and so I found myself turning to social media to combat the isolation I felt.

Through using Twitter, I started to make new friends and, with one of those friends, I started something on Twitter known as ‘#Yorkshirehour‘. Since March 2012, every Wednesday between 8 and 9pm, we’ve facilitated a Twitter hour to help Yorkshire people promote their businesses, events and charities and I’ve made more and more friends — many of whom I’ve now met in real life.

The success of #Yorkshirehour was overwhelming and within a few weeks, the topic was regularly trending in the top ten most talked about topics in the UK each Wednesday evening. Since then, the @Yorkshire_hour account has gained over 24,600 followers and the format has been replicated all over the UK. Continue reading “#HearingLossHour: A Silent Revolution?”

Mental Health and Hearing Loss

Chaos inside
Photo credit: Hartwig HKD

How does the stigma of mental illness affect hearing impaired people? Mental health problems, as well as being their own illness, can be a symptom of physical ailments. According to the Speech-Language-Hearing Association of America, untreated hearing loss is connected to depression and anxiety.

In a study out of 4000 subjects, the rates of depression were higher among individuals with untreated hearing loss. Typical symptoms of depression include an inability to focus; fatigue and excessive sleeping; feelings of sadness or emptiness; an inability to enjoy once beloved activities; feelings of hopelessness, and a desire to commit suicide. These symptoms can also be a sign of an undiagnosed hearing loss.

I speak from experience when talking about these symptoms, and the damage they can cause. Continue reading “Mental Health and Hearing Loss”