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Ruth Ann

My hearing loss is severe in the left ear and worse in the right ear. Any sound in my right ear sounds like static. Tinnitus in my right ear had become constant, varying (on a scale of 1-10) from a milder 4 to majorly distracting 7 or 8.

The hearing loss affected my life. I couldn’t understand the children in the nursery, no matter how many times they patiently repeated their statement. I had stopped picking up children for church because it had become impossible (and dangerous) to try to talk with them while I drove. After over 30 years of being the church pianist, I no longer played at all, not even for fun or relaxation. In fact, my son with his guitar was the only music I felt I could tolerate–and then I knew I was hearing only part of the notes. Otherwise, music was not even pleasant anymore, but had become an intolerably discordant blast of noise. I had completely stopped teaching children’s classes. Regular conversations were decreasing more and more as I stopped talking so I did not have to try to hear the reply. I avoided going visiting or shopping whenever possible. I was missing family reunions because it was impossible to hear in the crowd and I was getting close to having to deal with evident frustration and tears. My sister mentioned that I was not talking plainly. Reading in public became stressful, so I no longer did it. I felt like I was very gradually dying to everything and everyone I loved.

I didn’t get hearing aids sooner because: First, I was hoping my ears would heal and tried several ideas. Then, giving up on healing my ears and after saving enough to get hearing aids, a family tragedy wiped out that savings and all our spare cash for about a year. As we were able to get back on our feet, my husband asked me to see about getting hearing aids. I went to Come Hear Hearing Center. Losing my music was a real blow, as my piano has been my comfort in stress for many, many years. The notes simply did not sound right. I hesitated to sing because my voice sounded muffled, like it was coming from another room, and I couldn’t be sure I was singing the right note. Even with the demo, certain notes still sounded out-of-tune. After the trial week, I returned to receive the 2nd hearing aid. This [CROS Pure® transmitter] hearing aid would literally transmit sound from my right side to my left ear so that I could hear the sounds on my right side. I made one observation almost immediately: I could hear “S’s” again for the first time in several years. I could even hear myself saying “S’s.”

Also, whereas I had been able to hear more with one hearing aid, now (with the two) what I heard was clearer. I could understand many of the words people were singing on the radio. I was better able to identify sounds I heard. It was a special delight to find that the piano was in key again. It was somewhat uncomfortable to have my own voice coming out too loud (in my head), but I could hear both myself and the music and know I was singing on the note. Apparently, having the hearing aid in my right ear stopped the static that had been confusing the sounds I heard. As I began to “hear” with my right ear, the tinnitus decreased. One evening I took off my hearing aids and noticed the tinnitus did not immediately return. In fact, it was controllable, and I was able (until I went to sleep) to reject its return. I’ve now had the two hearing aids for a week, and I’ve already been asked to play the 2nd piano for the offertory in 2 weeks! …I think I can 🙂

Ruth Ann Griffith
Greenville, SC

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Follow-up letter from Ruth Ann:

In continuing with my testimony of how hearing aids are helping me: It has been four weeks since I first went to Come Hear. I began with a 2-week trial with a demo and have had the “real thing” [Pure® primax and CROS Pure] for 2 weeks.

I had to give up being our church pianist (after 30+ years) because of hearing loss and distortion. ALL music was in such discord that it gave pain without pleasure. I literally lost my music for 2 years. (I could only sing to myself, where imagination was better than substance.) Three weeks ago, when I got the 2nd hearing aid, notes were in tune again. In addition, last week I noticed notes are now in tune even without the hearing aids! Already, on Sunday, I was on the platform again where I played the organ (along with the pianist) for the offertory. Everyone in the church had sympathized with my loss and prayed for recovery…and they were thrilled to see what God is doing through the hearing aids.

Poll clerk training was on Saturday. What was unusual about it? Well, because I hear again, I was early and willing to check-in fellow students; I heard every word of instruction and most of the student comments and questions; and when I left I didn’t feel worn out from struggling to hear or wonder what I’d missed that was really important. I will be running my polling place with more confidence next Tuesday, and we won’t be slowed down by my constant request for “Would you please repeat that?” and “Did you say ___?” (Before, the polls were becoming so stressful that I didn’t think I could do it much longer.)

Hearing aids have increased my joy. For example, a couple days ago my husband and I enjoyed eating out where I heard him clearly–without asking for “a quiet spot”; then we bought an old comedy starring Andy Griffith and watched it–without captions. There is more freedom to concentrate on and enjoy tasks (knowing I can depend on hearing disturbances and not having to watch for them), and I hear the phone ringing, even from 1 or 2 rooms away.

The hearing aids were somewhat uncomfortable at first. One felt like it was too big, the other was very itchy. Last night, they felt so comfortable that I could have slept with them.

Did I mention that I can hear the children in the nursery again? No more trying to guess what they want or missing their first words. I am babysitting grandchildren with more confidence and joy.

Ruth Ann Griffith
Greenville, SC