My Hearing Loss Story — a personal essay from Wendy Bronstein.
I couldn’t even comprehend what had just been said. I was 16 years old…obsessed with boys, clothing, and everything pertaining to how good I looked. The doctor was telling my mother and me that test results showed I had significant hearing loss, and that I should probably begin wearing two hearing aids. I ran out of that office as fast as I could…I couldn’t even bear to hear the words “hearing aid”. That was what old people wore, not young sexy girls like me!! I refused to talk about it, and the subject was dropped as I somehow finished high school with straight A’s and got into the college of my choice, University of Pennsylvania. My hearing loss (a genetic loss my older brother was experiencing as well) continued to get worse. I don’t know how I did it. I don’t know how I managed through lectures and social situations and made it through college. I had begun to look at people’s lips, and I said “yes” to questions I didn’t even hear. I was beginning to feel awkward and embarrassed in social situations. I withdrew and became slightly depressed as a young adult. By the time I was twenty-two, I was engaged and working at my first job in Philadelphia. I had told my boss about my hearing problem so that he would understand if I asked him to repeat himself. In those days, talking about my hearing loss was painful. After a few months on the job, my boss called me into his office and said, “You either begin wearing hearing aids, or this job is not going to work out.”
This is when Kathy Goodman entered my life and has been by my side ever since. Kathy has guided me through my struggle to hear and lead a productive and “normal” life. Kathy understood my fears, embarrassments, and resentments about wearing hearing aids. This was 1988 (pre-ipod), and you didn’t hear about young people with hearing loss. I didn’t want to hear the line about, “it’s like glasses for your ears”, and she didn’t give me that. She worked with me and we found the smallest hearing aid I could wear. At first, I would only wear one, but overtime I came to my senses and I relented to wearing two. She was patient and supportive, yet firm and realistic about my hearing loss.
I have been working with Kathy for over twenty years. I am now 45 years old, and she has been
with me through all of it. She tested my babies when they were born for hearing loss. She has provided me with hearing aids through the years, and together we have watched the technology change and improve. She has not only been there as an excellent Audiologist, but as a friend and mentor who understands what it is to have hearing loss and live with it. When my yearly test results come back unchanged, she rejoices with me. She has watched my kids grow up (hearing loss free). She has dealt with my hearing aid breakages, losses, fine tunings, and complaints with the patience of a saint!
I am so lucky to have found Kathy and watch her business grow and succeed. There is no one else like her in the field. Even my brother who lives in New York City has come to see Kathy! Thank you Main Line Audiology and Kathy Goodman for helping me to hear well, feel good about myself, and for seeing me through.