I May be NAKED, but I HEAR Well!

Gingery’s Baby Pegasus (Owner:  Kyersten Portis, one of the writers of Hearing Elmo)

Pegasus may be naked as a jay-bird, but he has excellent ears.  (Side note:  Exactly HOW naked is a “Jay Bird”?  Has anyone ever really looked that up?  Food for thought… )

As a matter of fact, Fidos For Freedom, Inc., the organization from which my hearing assistance/balance dog Chloe comes, also trains Chinese Crested as hearing dogs.  It doesn’t matter if you have very little hair.  You can not only be a great pet or show dog, but you can actually be trained to assist someone with a disability.  (What a PLUS to be hypo-allergenic as well!  Chinese Crested have HAIR, not FUR).

Working dogs come in all shapes and sizes.  It reminded me of what “hearing loss” looks like as well.  “Hearing loss” doesn’t “look like” any one thing.  Its causes are as varied as a dog’s “looks” or “degree of hair”.  Fever, ototoxic drugs, accidents, genetics and “cause unknown” are all reasons a person may have a hearing loss.

Different ages of people can develop hearing loss.  Some children are born with hearing loss, and thanks to infant hearing screening, many are discovered at a very early age.  This helps in the long-run with speech development and language skills.

Some women develop hearing loss after having children.  The link has yet to be clearly defined by doctors.  (My own progressive hearing loss began after having children).

Some people do not develop hearing loss until they have worked a long period of time at a particular “noisy” job.  (My father-in-law worked as a printer for decades.  All that time around noisy machinery has taken it’s toll).

Some people have SHL, or “sudden” sensorineural hearing loss.  Many of our soldiers are coming home with significant hearing loss due to road-side bombs and other “war noises” they are exposed to each day.

Some people have “age-related” hearing loss.  How many of you have grandparents who now wear hearing aids? (or should – grin)

Hearing loss is not a “respecter of persons”.  It can affect every age, gender, race, or religion.  Economics, education, nor “looks” prevent someone from having a hearing loss.  Hearing loss is wide-spread.  (In the U.S., alone there are over 36 million people with hearing loss!)

Particular personality types are not exempt from hearing loss.  If you are sanguine and outgoing, hearing loss is just as devastating to you as it is to a quiet melancholy.

Hearing loss and personality types?  Sounds like the title of a blog post. (I’ll get started on that and ask my psychologist hubby to write!)

Denise Portis

© 2008 Hearing Loss Journal