My journey to finally hearing well has been a long one, and it was not without major conflicts and personal reflections.
The start of this adventure goes back to approximately 2002, when at 62 I was having several problems, none of which I would accept. At this time my career was as a focus group moderator in my own business, where I was conducting about 200 two-hour sessions per year both in the U.S. and abroad. The issue was that I was getting upset with the participants in my focus groups because they all were talking much too low, and I frequently had to ask them to repeat what they said during the sessions.
At approximately the same time, I was constantly being harangued by my wife because she could not handle the volume of the television. This became a source of conflict, as did my insistence that my wife talk louder during our dinner conversation, as I complained that her “soft speaking voice” was making it difficult to hear everything she was saying. This did not result in particularly pleasant dinner times in our home.
This went on until approximately 2008, when I received an offer in the mail from Audio Help Hearing Centers for a complimentary hearing test and a very favorable discount off the retail price of hearing aids should I need them ... which I still did not accept.
Enter Dr. Ed Bravo, the founder and president of Audio Help, an organization with three locations in New York City, one in Stamford, Connecticut, and one in Scarsdale, NY. Dr. Bravo did a very comprehensive hearing test on me, and much to my surprise the problems I had been experiencing at home and in my professional endeavor were my hearing rather than everyone else talking too low.
Well, Dr. Bravo changed my life, as he fitted me with wonderful hearing aids (which I have upgraded about every three years since) and a TV streamer device that enables me to have the sound from the television go directly into my ears. No more heated discussions with my wife of 56 years about the sound of the television or the sound of her voice.
And when I do focus groups or meet with my clients, it’s amazing that I no longer have to ask people to speak up. The question I keep asking as I reflect on my hearing aid journey is, What took me so long? My hearing aids have really been a significant improvement in my life and my relationships. I hope others who read this piece are smarter than I was, and at the first sign of any possible hearing problem, they will call an audiologist and get a hearing exam.
I have since learned that there is a very strong relationship between untreated hearing loss and the onset of Alzheimer’s, dementia and depression. Now that I can hear really well I don’t have to worry about these, and hope that others will take the time to get a hearing test so they can be protected.
It has been one of the best gifts I ever gave myself. Hopefully, others will do that for themselves.
Thomas L. Greenbaum is the founder of Encore Strategic Business Consulting in New York City and is a consultant for Audio Help Hearing Centers.
I have since learned that there is a very strong relationship between untreated hearing loss and the onset of Alzheimer’s, dementia and depression.