April 5, 2017. As a tool to help promote the Public Relations and Advocacy activities of Hear PEI and document my own experience with hearing loss, this new venture into blogging about life when one is hard of hearing, and about the work of a small non-profit Island organization, is an adventure and a journey into the unknown.
First, here is a short summary about the organization, which has been in existence, in one form or another, since 2001. It:
- Engages in advocacy for the hard of hearing
- Holds regular meetings with guest speakers on hearing related topics
- Fosters speech-reading classes
- Encourages hearing accessibility in public places
Second, a bit about me… My hearing loss began in October 1997 on my way to the airport from Winnipeg to give a presentation in Vancouver. At first I thought I had a head cold, but the symptoms worsened. Maybe it was from the pressure in my ears as the plane descended? I could hear as if from a deep fog, with echoes, and easily got confused as to where sounds were coming from.
When the symptoms didn’t go away, I went for a hearing test, and then for an MRI. I had an acoustic neuroma, which caused deafness in my right ear due to nerve damage.
Although my father had been diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma a few years earlier, it was still a shock to learn that I too had permanent hearing loss!
Because the damaged nerve also affected balance, I had to relearn how to keep my balance, as well as how to compensate for reduced hearing. My husband was in the diplomatic service, with many social events and to deal with languages I was not fluent in. It took a lot of practice, but I was able to manage successfully.
The blog will let you know about some of the activities – as they happen, rather than waiting for the semi-annual newsletter. It will also let you know about upcoming events. And it gives readers a chance to know more about the challenges, successes, tips, and activities regarding hearing loss faced by us and our ability to lead active and happy lives.
© Daria Valkenburg