As a registered nurse and midwife, Kath Corcoran is aware of how important it is to look after her health – including a fluctuating hearing loss that had frustrated her for years.
“Taking steps to retain your functional hearing capacity is so important, however my specific hearing loss was not a linear progression from ‘hearing’ to ‘not hearing’,” said Kath, who was diagnosed with an inner ear condition known as Ménière’s disease in 2007, and had been wearing hearing aids for the past year with varying success.
“For me, I have periods of hearing fluctuations which means I needed to constantly either change my hearing aid settings, or my environment, which isn’t always possible in noisy clinical work settings or when I’m with my family. This left me feeling more like a burden than an active and contributing participant in life.”
A mum of two school-aged children, Kath increasingly noticed a sense of anxiety around “the external world being painfully loud at times, and people’s voices sounding like incomprehensible noise”.
“The unfortunate fact is that hearing loss is unique in the sense that it’s invisible, and without support, it can undermine every aspect of your life,” said Kath.
Not ready to admit defeat but unsure what path to pursue next, Kath was encouraged to reach out to Hear and Say and its new Adult Hearing program by a family friend.
“What I immediately appreciated was that Hear and Say is not a small, shopping centre pop-in store offering a one-size-fits-all generic solution,” said Kath.
“Rather, they offer integrated, interdisciplinary support services that specifically targeted my individual needs. My audiologist, Georgia Cambridge, has also been an invaluable resource and wealth of knowledge – she is reliable and prompt in her communication with me, and also acts as a go-between between my Ear, Nose and Throat specialist, effectively maintaining true continuity of care.”
Kath said she would strongly urge anyone struggling with any aspect of hearing loss to seek support.
“In the era of information overload, there is often a surplus of information and false hope available, with only adds to the feelings of desperation and struggle.
“I would encourage anyone who is feeling challenged by their hearing or current hearing aids to reach out. One email is all it took!”