Wednesday, May 5, 2010

"It's Windy isn't it?", "No..It's Thursday"

Monday we had the Hearing Loss Association of America on the show and this weekend is also Mother’s Day, so it got me thinking about my mom, Mama O’.

My mother wears two hearing aids, she has since she was 18. I've often talked about how her hearing loss has shaped our mother-daughter relationship on the show. The title of this blog illustrates a funny exchange I’m sure I've had with my mom at some point.
All my life, I've been my mom’s ears in public situations to avoid these mishaps, but every once in a while, she just makes me laugh.

Hearing aids aren't covered by insurance so having grown up without a lot of money, this meant that most of my life the hearing aids my mom used ring constantly, or weren't individualized for her ear.

My mother has the best sense of humor through it all…if you ever joke about her hearing she (without missing a beat) pulls out the ol' “What?”, beating you to the punch line. In fact, my father used to joke that her hearing loss was the reason they had three kids in the first place. My dad would say, “Wanna go to bed or
what?” (wink wink) …and my mother would reply, “What?”. Hence the three of us….

"I just bought a new hearing aid. It cost me four thousand dollars, but its state of the art. It's perfect." "Really," answered the neighbor. "What kind is it?" "Twelve thirty."

I joke, but it’s of course not all comical …someone who suffers from hearing loss has a lot of social stigma’s to overcome. The HLAA educated us today that 31 million Americans have a hearing disorder and 22 million of those could have been prevented yet most people don’t ever get help hearing due to the social stigmas.You should watch the segment with our guest Eloise, who was a great example, saying that she didn't know she had a problem until she had lost 5 jobs and her relationships were strained because she simply could not communicate effectively.

I've seen first-hand how people speak slower to someone who can’t hear because they assume they lack intelligence when really they just can’t hear you! In many cases, if my mom doesn't hear someone speak to her (especially if she cannot see them) they think she’s being rude by not responding and get upset. Don’t even get me started about how angry I am that hearing aids aren't covered by insurance!! These are all reasons education and funding is needed. Diedre Downs, who won Miss America my year, wore a hearing aid and never told anyone. She felt it could hinder her chances of winning if the judges knew and unfairly thought she couldn't “perform” the job. She later began speaking on behalf of hearing foundations, but during our competition, it was a secret she only shared with a few of us due to the stigma’s hearing loss holds.

I could go on forever, however, the point of this entry wasn't to expose my mom’s hearing loss, or ramble…it was actually to point out that no one should be ashamed or embarrassed if they have trouble hearing. Get a hearing test, and if you cannot afford treatment, there are many studies that are free and provide you with hearing aids you can keep.

Watching my mother’s daily struggles has taught me a lot and helped to create the close-knit bond we share. Even though humor is how we deal with my mom’s hearing loss, I’ll say in a moment of all honesty, it’s not easy for her. And I’d be lying if I said I never get frustrated.

Tolerance, education, and a lot of repeating yourself a little bit louder come with living with someone who has hearing problems. I said..REPEATING YOURSELF A LITTLE LOUDER WORKS!

Remember to count your blessings this Mother’s Day. I count Mama O’, as one of my biggest blessings in life. Mom- I figured I should write this next sentence. If I just said it to you over the phone this Mothers day instead of hearing, “Mom, the biggest compliment I've ever received is when people say I remind them of you." You’ll probably ask me, “What? I remind you of glue?”

NO MOM…simply put, all I am, I owe to you. You are my hero. I love you. Happy Mother’s Day. I SAID…HAPPY MOTHERS DAY!

And Happy Mother's Day to all of you women who are parents and Grandparents, you are all saints.

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