By Jacquie Reid
Once upon a time, many years ago, I found out I had hearing loss in one ear. As I was only 19, it didn’t matter. I was invincible, almost.
A few years later I developed Meniere’s disease, something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Over time, it went in and out of remission. One day while at work, I could no longer hear out of my other ear. Usually only one ear is affected, but up to 50% of sufferers may develop the condition in both ears. I became part of that 50%. As a result, the hearing loss in my left ear was virtually nil with my right ear becoming my ‘good’ ear.
While the Meniere’s continued to wreak havoc in my life, I eventually had to take early retirement. Looking for a support group I ‘stumbled’ upon the Canadian HARD of HEARING Association (CHHA-Hamilton & Area Branch). What a godsend!
Initially, my ENT sent me for a hearing test. The first time, I don’t recall if the hearing instrument specialist knew about CHHA, but on further tests the new HIS suggested I contact the Canadian Hearing Society (CHS). They in turn gave me Joan Miller’s contact information. Joan founded The Hamilton Branch of the Canadian HARD of HEARING Association in 1986. Luckily, I was able to contact her and was invited to one of their meetings.
As with many people who have hearing loss, I was not familiar with the Canadian HARD of HEARING Association. I think we’re the best kept secret across the land. CHHA has branches from St. John’s, Newfoundland right across the country to B.C. We have three in Ontario (Ottawa, Sudbury & Hamilton).
CHHA-Hamilton Branch is fortunate to have two Hearing Instrument Specialists on their board. Lianne Moning-Farwell of Hearing Healthy Centre in Dundas and Mark Peterson of Connect Hearing in Stoney Creek. Their support and knowledge have been outstanding. Since we are all volunteers on the CHHA board, their guidance has been instrumental in helping us educate other people with hearing loss.
Once people receive their hearing aids – then what? So many people with hearing loss feel frustrated and alone. That was certainly my feeling. Numerous folks are not aware of CHHA (pronounced chaw 😊). Becoming a member of CHHA was an enlightening experience for me. The goal of the Canadian HARD of HEARING Association is to support and educate people with hearing loss. Your assistance in introducing your clients to CHHA could be very helpful to them. They will then learn there is ‘life’ after purchasing their hearing aids. It is always helpful to be able to chat with others who experience the same difficulties you have.
We hold four meetings a year with educational speakers on hearing loss, tinnitus and Meniere’s disease. Mark Peterson will be our November 28th speaker. We also hold lip/speech reading classes in the spring and fall. All are welcome.
So please, be sure and mention there is support for them. They will be happy if you did.
If you have any questions, please feel free to check out our website at www.chha-hamilton.ca or
e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Communications & Newsletter Editor, Hamilton Branch
Canadian HARD of HEARING Association