Di loves nothing more than spending mornings in the park with her grandchildren, but the experience is bitter sweet. Although Di can see their gorgeous smiles she yearns to hear their squeals of delight.
My hearing loss started in my early twenties. I remember beginning to have difficulty following conversations and then having to turn the volume up quite loud on the TV to be able to hear it. After I had my children, things got progressively worse. My audiologist at the time confirmed I had a significant hearing loss and diagnosed otosclerosis, which he believed was attributed to my pregnancies.
Even though my husband John and I really wanted to have more children, we decided against it. The hearing loss was already having a significant impact on our lives and we did not want it to get much worse.
Since then, my hearing loss has gradually declined, and although my aides have kept me wonderfully attached to the world, I've slowly lost the ability to enjoy many things.
I miss not being able to have conversations with my grandchildren and listening to their tales of wondrous and exciting discoveries. Instead, I nod, smile back and tell them that is fantastic news and hope I said the right thing. What I really hope for in my heart is to actually hear them.
It is those simple pleasures I miss the most.
Many people don’t realise the extent of my loss because I have managed to mask it really well...by being the chatty and outgoing one!
Yet it is so terribly lonely at times, because the conversation can be so one-sided, and that is not what I yearn for.
I yearn to be part of a dialogue; to hear and discuss the children’s day; to answer and talk on the telephone; to enjoy a walk and talk with John; to hear the sounds of nature, birds singing, waves crashing, leaves crunching under foot and to be able to engage in after dinner conversations with friends.
John has been my rock and source of strength through this journey, as well as becoming my ears over the years. He answers the phone and does the calling for us and he will be the one who will organize times and places to meet, just in case I pick up the wrong information.
I have recently been assessed for my suitability to have a cochlear implant, and thankfully I am now on the waiting list...although the bad news is...it could still be a number of years before I get the implant due to funding and growing waiting lists.
I live in hope though...and in the meantime, I will cope as I have done, as I have a wealth of strategies I have learned over the years which help me communicate in a hearing world.