December 2021 Recipient Story

December 2021 Recipient Story

Oregonian hearing aid recipient Cecilia Tate describes life with hearing loss and her experience working with the Hearing Aid Project

Tell us about yourself:

Mrs. Tate: Before early retirement in 2005, I worked in DB2 data modeling and was the Senior DB2 Database Administrator supporting American Airlines. My husband and I are two retired seniors blessed to be living very simply in a beautiful part of the world.  We have three children between us, all living in Texas. I enjoy genealogy, needle tatting, gardening, beachcombing, and fishing. My husband and I also enjoy the peaceful environment where we live: listening to the birds, wind in the trees, the sounds of the Pacific Ocean, fishing, walking through the woods and various nearby beaches, beachcombing, and playing ball with our border collie.

How and when did you start experiencing hearing loss?

Mrs. Tate: As a young teenager I had difficulty understanding words to popular songs.  As an adult in my 50’s I noticed it was a strain to hear voicemail messages or phone calls. When there was noise around me, I could not separate the speech from the noise.  Even now I still have difficulty understanding words to songs without having to turn the volume up.

How have you coped with your hearing loss until now?

Mrs. Tate: Every aspect of my life has been under stress due to the hearing loss. Sitting in our car next to my husband, and the majority of time having to say “Sorry I did not understand you, what did you say?” If there is noise around me, I could not understand what people said. People forgetting I have hearing loss and speaking to me from another room or with their back to me. Sometimes when outdoors if the wind was in a direction to my face and the person was also facing me, I could hear them. This situation only added to the feeling that I had selective hearing. If their back was to me and the wind blew their voice to me, I could not fully understand. Many times I would be concentrating on something and be totally unaware that someone had spoken to me, very embarrassing, as they expected an answer. Having to ask people over and over what they had said and explaining I have a hearing loss. Hearing my husband’s voice from another room while I was in another part of the house and walking to him and say “I heard your voice, but I could not understand what you said,” was very frustrating to both of us. If individuals had soft voices there was a good chance I would not be able to understand them and after explaining hearing loss, place my better ear in their direction hoping I could then hear and understand them. Hearing someone on the phone or voicemail was impossible and most frustrating. It was impossible to hear/understand anyone while they wore a mask! Stopped engaging in conversations with others due to embarrassment.  

How do you think having hearing aids will impact your daily life and life in the future?

Mrs. Tate: Hearing aids have enabled me to experience the sounds of nature around me, hear the voice of others and actively become a participant in life again! I encourage others with hearing loss to have a hearing test, and share that hearing aids have allowed me to participate in life with others and enjoy the world that GOD has made. The future is bright with optimism!  I cannot think of life without them! With the hearing aids, I was surprised to find that my oven and microwave beeps when it reached a temperature setting, etc. At night when I take my hearing aids out to recharge, I am shocked at how quiet it is as there is very little I hear without them! A simple “Thank You,” just does not convey how thankful and grateful my husband and I are to the Hearing Aid Project for providing the hearing aids for me. My family is forever grateful! 

How did you find out about the Hearing Aid Project, and what do you want people to know about the Project?

Mrs. Tate: A Google search that listed several hearing aid charities, and the majority were closed due to Covid-19. I knew from an audiologist that they worked with the Lions organization to fit hearing aids, so I sent an application to the local Lions group and was turned down.  Your organization was the next one listed and the website stated, “Everyone should be able to hear, irrespective of their income.” Your organization lived up to its word!  I was blessed that the audiologist group I had used previously agreed to work with your wonderful organization. There are many others like me who do not qualify for support via other organizations but cannot afford to purchase the hearing aids they need.  I now encourage others with hearing difficulties to pursue organizational help and also, others with hearing aids to make provisions to donate them.