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Brenda struggled with gradual hearing loss since she was in the first grade. Hearing aids were available, but she didn’t need one yet, so she survived school by sitting in the front row.
For Brenda and Brad, hearing loss was a part of their relationship since the day they met. Brad knew she had a hard time hearing, but he thought it was his soft-spoken voice. He assumed she would ask him to repeat himself, but then he noticed she was reading his lips.
Brenda’s struggles with hearing loss affected her self-confidence, independence and social life. When Brenda and Brad were part of a group conversation, people would talk and look at Brad more and isolate Brenda.
Having to tell or remind others that she was hard of hearing or deaf was a fear of Brenda’s that she had to relive daily. She didn’t feel accepted by others, and this created obstacles in high school, college and into her adult life.
As Brenda’s hearing loss continued, the phone became another pain point for her. Even with the use of strong hearing aids, being able to understand Brad and others on the phone was a struggle and a challenge. The phone also became frustrating for Brad; he wanted Brenda to hear him the first time and not repeat things ten times. Brenda’s gradual hearing loss made it tough to connect with her spouse and family, putting a strain on her relationships.