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"Welcome to BHC a place where there are opportunities to build strong connections."
- Peggy K. Wolf
The Invisible Disability
It’s called presbycusis, and more than 50% of people over 65 years of age are at some stage of this disability. It has been considered an age-related sensory-motor hearing loss; however, many younger people exposed for long periods of time to loud noises such as gunfire, chain saws or rock concerts are also suffering from this disease. It is a gradual process of degeneration in the inner ear. Once the cilia—tiny hairs attached to the nerve endings in the cochlea—die as a result of the aging process or noise damage, they do not regenerate.
Phonic regression, which causes degenerative changes in the central auditory pathways, also contributes to this hearing loss. It causes poor perception of words; hearing becomes difficult in noisy environments, or when speech is rapid and unfamiliar, as in the theater or at lectures.
Such misunderstandings eventually cause us to feel less and less comfortable with other people. It becomes easier to eat alone, rather than sit silently at a table, unable to follow the conversation, and not daring to say anything for fear that we might misinterpret what was said. We no longer go to concerts or the theater, since very few are adequately wired with hearing facilities. Occasionally, I enjoy going to foreign films, since they have subtitles in English, which I can read, though I cannot hear the words. Fortunately most television sets can also supply subtitles to most of their programs, so we can keep up with the world around us.
What we would ask of those of you who can still hear is that you do not judge too severely when we say things out of context or ask you to repeat your remarks. We may not understand you even then, but we do keep trying!
Submitted by Sara Silverton, Congregant