by Shari Eberts
December 7, 2015
Hearing loss advocate Shari Eberts has early onset adult hearing loss. She believes men suffer in greater silence and isolation, and offers ways to help those who may feel ashamed or alone.
I have hearing loss, as did my father, and believe me, it is not fun; but it seemed to have been a lot harder for him than it is for me. He did his best to hide it, smiling and nodding his way through conversations he was only pretending to hear. He never asked for help that I can remember, and could often be found sitting alone at social gatherings. I always thought he was shy, but now I know he must have been exhausted. He had given up on interacting with others.
Living with shame took its toll. Over time he withdrew from work, from relationships, and his health deteriorated. It is a sad story, and a scary one for me, given my own hearing loss, and the possibility that I have passed it along genetically to my children.
Part of the trouble for him may have been the times. My father grew up when men were not encouraged to show emotions. Physical weakness was mocked and health problems were hidden behind closed doors, or in the case of my father, behind his sideburns grown long for that purpose. He was a product of his generation, which certainly made things harder. Hearing aid technology was also not as advanced as today, so perhaps he grew frustrated after attempts with hearing aids that did not solve his problems.