In the third of six blogs he’s writing exclusively for Starkey, Justin Osmond — who was born with a severe-to-profound hearing loss and has been wearing hearing aids since he was 2 years old — shares why he thinks hearing health is essential to living your best life possible.
A while back when my wife celebrated her birthday, she told me, “All I want for my birthday is a CARD.” With a concerned look on my face, I responded, “All you want for your birthday is a CAR?” You can imagine the laughter that followed!
Thank goodness my wife is frugal, as I’m pretty certain she would’ve been extremely upset if she found a brand new ‘car’ in her driveway instead of a nice simple birthday ‘card’ on the counter.
How many of us — after listening to something we didn’t quite understand — respond by assuming we know the answer? This has been my life for over 40 years.
I’ve played the guessing game because I didn’t quite grasp what was said. I’ve been too ashamed to ask my teachers and professors to repeat what was said in the classroom. And I’ve completely embarrassed myself on many occasions for not understanding a very simple phrase — not to mention came close to purchasing a ‘car’ instead of a simple, requested birthday ‘card’ for my wife’s birthday.
I think it’s fair to say that all of these heart-wrenching situations could have been avoided if only my auditory nerves functioned properly and with no sensorineural hearing damage.
So do I think hearing health is essential? You bet! If someone has enough residual hearing to benefit from a hearing aid, I would take full advantage of it so you don’t miss out on life’s amazing opportunities and experiences.
Better hearing leads to better understanding
In order to be better communicators, we need to ‘Listen to Understand’, not ‘Listen to Respond’. And in order to listen to ‘understand’, we need to hear our best. The majority of my life, I’ve been responding to situations that I’ve never fully understood. And looking back, they were heartbreaking, embarrassing and humiliating.
But now with my new Livio Edge AI hearing aids, I can honestly say with full confidence that I can hear and listen with ‘understanding.’ This has allowed me to be a better leader, producer, listener and communicator with everyone I now come in touch with. It’s taken my former world of ‘hearing’ to a whole new world of ‘understanding.’ And for that reason alone, I have to say that hearing health is absolutely essential.
Better communication leads to closer relationships
Over the years, I’ve learned that if you want to draw close to someone, you need to communicate with them. If you want to communicate with them, you need to understand them. If you want to understand them, then you need to hear. And if you don’t have any residual hearing to benefit from a hearing device, then sign language is another beautiful, legitimate language and tool to communicate and connect with life and humanity. I am fluent in American Sign Language and I must say that I truly enjoy living in both the ‘hearing’ and ‘deaf’ world.
Not long after my wife’s birthday, I received the new Starkey Livio Edge AI hearing aids. Thanks to its artificial intelligence and out-of-this world technology, I no longer have to worry about misunderstanding what my wife wants for her birthday — and we’ve never been closer.
Thank you Starkey for bridging the gap so I can hear better, listen better, understand better and live better!
You can follow Justin Osmond on Facebook at JAOsmond; on Instagram at justin_osmond; on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/justinosmond/ or at his website www.justinosmond.com
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