Posted on Friday, March 23, 2012

Hearing Aids: Rejoining the World

Photo of former 1st Lt Robert Rock, USA, Corps of Engineers who suffered hearing loss in the service

The men and women of our armed services give much to protect the United States, and often times these men and women are not done paying for that service simply because their time in the military has ended. This is the case for both physical and emotional wounds, some of which can go unnoticed for years—as is regularly the case with hearing loss. No one understands this better than former 1st Lt. Robert Rock, USA Corps of Engineers. Former 1st Lt. Rock served his country valiantly in WWII, assisting in strategic and dangerous missions that helped clear the way for the troops to advance. His service exposed him to heavy artillery rounds and explosive, concussive sounds that damaged his hearing. It was many years before these wounds, combined with infections suffered in childhood and age, took away enough of 1st Lt. Rock’s hearing that he began to feel cut off from the world. Rejoining the world through use of hearing aids would require him to combat his own internal fears.

As is often the case, people faced with hearing loss are kept from seeking help for their condition due to denial and myths about hearing aids. 1st Lt. Rock tells us he was no different.

"I hesitated for a long time to seek [help] out for several reasons, one being vanity and others being expense and pride."

Many people don't realize that hearing aids, when examined under typical years of usage, only cost pennies a days. Once 1st Lt. Rock decided rejoining the world and restoring his hearing was something that he needed to do, he made the call to his hearing health professional. He received his hearing aids which, changed his life and as he tells us, "it is the best investment I have ever made." 1st Lt. Robert Rock rejoined the world, treated his hearing loss, and also discovered the many benefits of his new hearing aids, including one that might surprise you.

My name is Robert Rock. I am a former 1st. Lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers. My hearing aids help me every day in many ways. Without the aids I cannot hear a car coming up behind me on the street. This could be fatal. Without them I could not carry on a decent conversation with my dear wife, friends, or family. Without them, I had found myself gradually retreating into an inner world away from humans. I simply couldn't communicate with them effectively and therefore withdrew. Without hearing aids I couldn't hear the birds sing, a creek gurgle, or the wind blow. Now, those sounds are clear. Without hearing aids, I couldn't enjoy a movie or a lecture or a concert or any public event. Now, I go out often and involved in many fine activities.

Before I received hearing aids, I began to feel like a lesser human being and lost confidence in myself. In those times I found myself slowly leaving my human contacts in exchange for just my own inner conversations. It was a terribly lonely world and I believe people who don't treat their hearing loss can suffer a form of mental and emotional instability, certainly withdrawal.

Without hearing aids I used to have to turn the TV up so loud, it offended everyone else in the room. Now, I can listen to television at a normal level.

But with hearing aids, I can still enjoy all these things, and in addition I have the freedom to eliminate them at will. That is, when my wife wants to listen to music or the TV and I want to read, or I’m in a crowd that’s far too noisy, I just switch them off. Automatic ear plugs! It’s a blessing!

Remarkably, with the new hearing aids I just acquired, I not only have control over the volume, but the direction and clarity of sound as well. I am truly thankful that such things exist. I don't have to live just in an inner world; I can rejoin the human race again. I can't encourage anyone enough to try them. They are truly a miracle!

People Hearing Better would like to thank you, 1st Lt. Robert Rock, for your service and for your generosity in sharing this story. Not only did you give much to keep this country safe, but you continue to help the men and women of the armed services through your work with the Military Officers Association of America.

If you'd like to learn more, see your hearing health provider. If you need help finding a hearing health provider click HERE to be connected with the largest network of trusted hearing health professionals in the nation!

If you'd like to share your own hearing loss story, contact dstewart@ahaanet.com

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