“Hey Bill! Hear those birds?”
“Uh-huh…did you say, ‘Hail! Fearsome words?’ ”
Not everyone has hearing issues but most of us like a good story.
This is the story of Flo Innes who was born with a hearing deficiency
and struggled through childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, learning
to hear, employing hearing technology available at the time.
When Flo began school, she was often banished to the class coatroom for not paying attention. Some thought she was mentally retarded, some thought her un-attentive, and some didn’t want to be bothered. It wasn’t until she had a routine physical at age six that a doctor realized she was having a hearing problem. This came as a complete surprise to her family. Flo’s mother got her a hearing device for one ear, then spent years teaching her to enunciate more clearly.
With hard work and natural intelligence, Flo was able to complete her education, including college training as an interior designer. Nonetheless, she found a career in the business world only offered entrance level jobs for a person with a hearing disability. Eventually she moved to Sarasota Florida and became active in the community. (Some years later, she saw an audiologist there who asked, “Why don’t you have two hearing aids? You have two ears. Properly fitted with two hearing aids, Flo soon discovered what real hearing was.)
Decades later, trough the generosity of a friend, she was left in charge of a trust to help the hearing impaired. With this financial backing, she was able to start a hearing center and become founder and president of Advocates for Better Hearing, Inc. (www.advocatesforbetterhearing.com/) Unique in the United States, ABH is a non-profit agency through which Flo offers choices and good, solid, in-your-pocket advice; advice you can carry with you when shopping for hearing aids or personal hearing amplifiers. For ten years Flo has been offering “non-vested interest” help to mostly older folks who come to Florida to retire, only to find that hearing loss has become a barrier to family and community life, particularly for
men who see hearing loss as a weakness one should bear up under. BALONEY. Those men have no idea how difficult their hearing loss makes life for their friends and loved ones who have the daily challenge of communicating with a hearing deficient individual.
My eventual meeting with Flo all began a couple of weeks ago with a visit to my friend Johnny Finsher on St. George Island, FL. During our conversations I had a devil of a time hearing what Johnny was saying. It was embarrassing, but I couldn’t keep asking him to repeat every word. (It was plainly my hearing loss and not his enunciation at fault.)
I decided the time had come for me to re-investigate hearing devices. Several years ago I tried wearing some pretty advanced hearing aids but found them disorienting and frustrating, so I gave up. Someone (having a hard time making themselves understood by me) recently suggested I research a personal amplifier. In the midst of this research I discovered Flo. My visit with her was certainly educational and enlightening but, most of all, Flo offers me and other hearing impaired folks HOPE. Flo and I are working together now to improve my hearing capability.
With all of technologies wonders today, it is possible that one day soon, the hearing assisted person will be seen as quite a normal individual, simply with a corrected hearing deficiency. Now wouldn’t that be a wonder.