Such a simple little device...and yet, this little instrument in my ear, it signals the start of my day. Kind of like when the screen on your computer lights up and all your applications come into view, that is my world. I live in total isolation until the little gizmo turns on.
Every morning, I click on the switch and instantly, the small amount of hearing I have left in one ear tunes me into my world. All because of Michael, my audiologist, for more than half of my life, has been my resource to listening. You see, this man who I call my friend, has been my link to the hearing world.
I hated my hearing aid growing up. In fact, I would hide it in my purse when I was a teenager. My hearing was much better in those years and I could get away without it. I am a strong lipreader and this allowed me to be "normal". I just wanted to be like everyone else and the hearing aid, well, it didn't fit my image. Not cool, not me.
So, onto college, I started wearing them more to hear the lectures. Then the career years started and hearing aids allowed me to make a living. It was a combination of luck and hard work, I advanced up the ladder and worked for amazing companies. But, there is one other very important component, those opportunities were possible, because I could hear.
So, every morning, when this little hearing aid goes into my ear, I am so thankful.
Thank you Michael. Thank you for this amazing gift of hearing that you have given to me through the years. With hearing came confidence. I wasn't afraid to strike out on my own, move to The Big Apple and take on the big job on Park Avenue. Through conversation I cultivated lifelong friendships. I could hear my wedding vows and my daughter's first words.
Thank you for your friendship, for the many hours you would spend with me. There were times that those meetings were incredibly sad, the audiograms revealed yet another drop, more loss. And yet, you never gave up on me.
Today, I celebrate the Michael Santucci's of the world and their life work of helping the hearing impaired to live a better quality of life. I thank my teachers so many years ago that taught me how to lip read and the speech therapists that helped me to overcome my speech impediments. Thank you also to the music teacher that helped me to listen to notes and overcome tone deafness. Without all of you, my life would have been so different.
So each morning, when I turn on the little hearing aid, I have incredible gratitude. You see, it isn't just about a hearing aid...it is the gift of listening, learning and living.