the year of LIVING UNOFFICIALLY

365 days of celebration

31
May

National Save Your Hearing Day

Posted by Brittany

National Save Your Hearing DayHelen Keller once said “Being blind cuts you off from things…being deaf cuts you off from people.” While deaf Americans have a strong Deaf culture to turn to and grow into, those of us who have lived the majority of our lives with in tact hearing can suffer dire emotional and social consequences from untreated hearing loss. An affected person may withdraw from his or her surroundings, exhibit changes in personality, problems at work, embarrassment, and loss of intimacy. Hearing loss can develop a result of a health condition, genetic factors, or environmental causes. In many cases environmental causes, such as prolonged exposure to high decibel noises, are avoidable. Save Your Hearing Day, celebrated every May 31st, is an opportunity to learn about hearing loss and how it can be avoided.

When I was in high school I became interested in sign language and deafness, and that interest eventually led me to a B.S. in Audiology. But after completing my undergraduate degree and a year of graduate school in just four years, I felt burned out. I decided I didn’t want to be an audiologist and I left grad school, pursuing a career in the office furniture industry instead. Sometimes I wish I’d stuck it out and earned the title of “Doctor,” but I know the decision I made was right for me. Although I didn’t want to devote my working hours to the study of sound, I learned a lot during my time at James Madison University. Besides all of the super-sciency and mathy stuff, I learned that the average person starts to lose their hearing in their late twenties. And I learned that extremely loud sounds, even brief ones, can kill the important hair cells in your inner ear — that’s why you get that ticklish feeling in your ears at a loud rock concert. What I learned taught me to value my hearing and treat it with care.

To celebrate Save Your Hearing Day Chris picked up a couple pairs of earplugs at our local hardware store. My dad recently purchased a new tractor and we were lucky enough to become the proud new owners of his old John Deere riding mower. But with great horse-power comes great responsibility. I always gave my dad a hard time about not wearing hearing protection while he rode the John Deere, so Chris and I seized the opportunity to honor today’s “unofficial” by purchasing ear plugs for our impending afternoons atop the mower. I haven’t taken my maiden voyage on the tractor yet, but when I do you can be sure I’ll be wearing my little yellow plugs.

Heads or Tails? Tomorrow is Flip A Coin Day! But, most importantly, it is my wonderful husband’s birthday! Happy Birthday Chris!!!

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