Kyle Kiser speaking on hearing loss

As told by Kyle Kiser

Wearing a hearing aid isn’t a disability, it amplifies your quality of life!

I was born in 1982, and my beautiful parents didn’t realize they had a baby with profound hearing loss until 1984.

Once my parents were told about my diagnosis, they went through what most parents go through when finding out your baby has hearing loss–all the emotional stages of grief. What got them through it all was Dr. Kay Young (audiologist), a.k.a Kay. From what my parents have shared with me, Kay put her hands on their shoulders and told them, “It’s going to be okay.” In a sense, she became my parents’ guide and mentor on how to raise a child with hearing loss.

Dr. Young provided them with various resources, made recommendations, and visited my schools to explain how devices such as an FM system worked so I could understand my teachers. She also educated many of my family members on how to communicate effectively with someone with a hearing loss. She went above and beyond for my parents. Today, I’m 39 years old, and she still goes above and beyond for me as if I’m her family member. She’s definitely our family member, and I’m sure all those who’ve worked with her all these years feel the same

I’ve worn a hearing aid in my right ear only for 37 years since I’m profoundly deaf in my left ear. My hearing aid is a tool that amplifies my surroundings. Due to the degree of my hearing loss, and being able to hear on average 70% with the hearing aid on, people oftentimes don’t understand what communication is like for someone with hearing loss.

Awareness and education are still vital, even today, for society to understand hearing loss. Some people who are aware of hearing loss use the tools they know to communicate with me, effectively. For example, some people will look directly at me so I can read their lips to understand what they’re saying. Additionally, some people understand they need to take turns talking at the table if they want me to follow the conversation. Sometimes I’ll get the “I’ll tell you later” memo. And other times, when I’m tired of all the yapping and noise, I enjoy taking off my hearing aid and using sign language with those who know how to sign.

It is all about acceptance, and that begins with you. Once you accept you have a hearing loss, your quality of life will change for the better, and you’ll be in a much happier place. Never worry about whether or not you’re going to fit in. You’ll fit in, you just may have to educate those around you, and if they love you, they’ll make it all work for you.

I recently purchased a new hearing aid. Being a hearing aid user for so long, it’s amazing how much technology has advanced. Today I can hear clearer and sharper sounds since my hearing aid has some really cool features. My hearing aid is linked to an app that’s installed on my mobile phone to adapt to different environments and situations. Also, I can hear my music playlist and videos streaming from my phone using the wireless Bluetooth feature.

Anytime someone asks me about hearing aids or who they can speak to in audiology, I always say Shelby Hearing Center. I’ve visited many hearing centers from moving up and down the east coast for a few years. Many of them were kind and welcoming, but not like Shelby Hearing Center. They welcome you into their world with knowledge, patience, and care.