In mid-1999, I stood at the elevators outside of my ENT’s office, tears rolling down my cheeks. I’d just found out that my hearing had taken another huge drop. I’d been progressively losing my hearing for about 5 years. I’d been using hearing aids for about half of that time, but I was needing adjustments to them, more and more often and I didn’t know or understand anything about my hearing loss. I realized at that moment, as I bottomed out, that I needed help. Not the kind of medical help that audiologists and ENT’s could provide, but something else. Something more. I came home, got online and did a search for ‘Hearing Loss Support’.
The SayWhatClub caught my eye and I clicked the link, and never looked back. From the first person I met, my Hospitality Commitee mentor, I knew I was home. I was placed on the World list, and soon found myself the center of warm welcomes. As the years rolled by, I began to learn about my hearing loss. About coping skills, in tough hearing situations. I learned there was a whole world of people out there just like me. People who understood when you just had to vent. They understood because they’d all either been there, done that, or would be going through it soon.
I began to attend the yearly conventions, when I could. A bond was formed that has only grown stronger over the years. I served the club as a List Rep, a convention co-chair and now I am President of the Board of Directors.
Three years ago, due mainly to knowledge acquired right here, I got a cochlear implant. I could suddenly hear much better. I didn’t require the same accommodations that I’d needed before. But my feelings for, and bond with my friends on the SayWhatClub lists remained, and remains, strong.The hearing loss is secondary, now. They are my friends, first, because of who they are.
What is it worth, to have friends like these? To belong? To know that what you are going through is shared by others who care about you? It’s worth a lot. More than I have. I know that every person that belongs to the SayWhatClub has a story just like, or at least similar to mine on how you arrived here, and what made you stay. As we open our SayWhatClub official weblog, we ask that you visit, talk with us here, tell us your stories. And then come, join us at www.saywhatclub.com. We HEAR you.
Linda M. Binns