User Stories

Using Hearing Aids: A Story from Morgan Martins

Editor’s note: this is the fourth in a series of guest articles shared by MED-EL recipient Morgan Martins. In her previous post, she received her first pair of hearing aids. Here, she shares what it’s like to be using hearing aids.

The first 3 months of my new life with hearing aids were, I would say, okay. I was positive about being able to continue my life as normal as I could. My social life was very different, and my attitude at work and with my family was equally–if not more–different.

It was 2011, a year of trying to adapt to the fact that in spite of my best wishes, life would not continue as normal as before my hearing loss. I started involving myself in volunteering for Action on Hearing Loss as well as a Ménière’s disease support page on Facebook.

I always feel better when helping others by using my experience and the things I learned. And, helping them overcome the symptoms and limitations of Ménière’s disease was also a way to catharsis my own pain. While I was trying to help others, I was trying too not to succumb to the problems that I was having and trying to not focus on the fact that my hearing lost was aggressively continuing.

My first set of hearing aids worked good for three months. The thing about Ménière’s disease is that your hearing can be better some days than others: one day I could wake up being able to hear my wife on the phone, and by the end of the day I wouldn’t be able to hear the fire alarm.

For me this was very unsettling. There was never a “black” or “white” to my hearing.

At work things started to turn for worst. While the HR Department was very sensitive about my needs, within a few months some of my coworkers bullied me and made fun of me for being deaf.

In September I, as with all of the digital managers at my job, were promoted. This meant that I now had to attend weekly meetings with others in the company. As much as I wanted to be involved in these meetings, it was impossible for me to follow their conversations and debates.

Instead of trying to find solutions, I met more bullies. It was the start of a big period of depression for me, and I decided to refuse my promotion. I talked with HR and they discussed a new role for me, “sitting beautiful on the shelf” as I called it. I didn’t care about the job anymore, and the proud professional that I had always been was now more concerned with saving enough energy to simply continue to…live.

So, at work I was dealing with the many consequences from mostly everyone’s–including my own–inaptitude to adapt to my hearing loss. My hearing aids were not helping anymore, I wasn’t benefiting from them, and again silence was more a constant than hearing.

Luckily, again, the audiology team at my hospital never gave up on me or on supporting my needs. They helped me and fitted me with a second, more powerful, set of hearing aids. These worked fabulously for 5 months…

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