Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”

― Marcel Proust

During this time where we are locked down and confined to our homes, we learn the meaning of gratitude. Not only am I grateful for the fact I am still healthy and Covid19 free but that I am in a position to look after my family and spend time together. Many people are not. With a small toddler in the house, my husband and I are grateful for naps and some time to just ‘be’.

Most of my extended family including my mother and siblings live all over South Africa and we have the ability to phone, video call of communicate in other ways that keep us close. Being in lockdown on your own and with a hearing loss must feel very different. The ability to use the phone or video calling is diminished by the quality of the sound that reaches our brains. Hearing loss affects the volume and clarity of the sound which makes communication more difficult, even in person. The effect of transmitting sound through phones and television, changes the clarity and the balance of the sound and makes speech more difficult to hear.

Helen Keller said “I am just as deaf as I am blind. The problems of deafness are deeper and more complex, if not more important than those of blindness. Deafness is a much worse misfortune. For it means the loss of the most vital stimulus- the sound of the voice that brings language, sets thoughts astir, and keeps us in the intellectual company of man”.

We are a social species and it is not normal for us to live in isolation every day. Many people, especially those who are elderly, live in isolation due to hearing loss, every day.

Research suggests that the consistent use of amplification, at the earliest possible stages of hearing loss, serves to reconnect people to life. Good hearing has the capacity to change a lonely and quiet world into one where the sound of a neighbor working in the garden and playing with their child, can feel like connection again. The support of a good audiologist to access, fit and adjust the wonderful technologies of hearing aids, helps so many people overcome these difficulties.

The fact that I am able to pick up the phone and speak to my family without any difficulty is a reason to be grateful. To be an audiologist and support people with reconnecting to their desired sound, is another point of joy for me. Gratitude is a mindset that we can express every day. In this time on earth, we are reminded about the things in life that are important. Being together and being able to communicate are at the top of my list.

Stay Safe. Stay Well.

– Carien de Jager