By Tim Kalinowski on February 8, 2018.
Twenty-eight years ago Medicine Hat resident Marie-Louse Charron got her first set of hearing aids, and the experience changed her life.
This past week when it was announced Charron had been awarded a brand new, free set of state-of-the-art hearing aids from the Campaign for Better Hearing, she got that same old feeling back again.
“My first year with hearing aids was super-amazing,” she remembers with a gentle smile on her face. “I cried for most of the whole year, because I would hear the noises of birds singing. When I used to go to the beach I just thought the water was quiet. I didn’t know it could make noise … I feel pretty darn good to receive this award, I’ll tell you that much.
“I was thinking: ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t believe this.’ And now that I have them in, I feel really good. It’s a whole spectrum of new sounds.”
The Campaign for Better Hearing is a common charitable fund paid into by hearing professionals across the country which gifts hearing aids to those who need them but might not be able to easily afford them. Charron’s name was submitted for the campaign’s consideration by local hearing practitioner Bryan Burr of HearingLife.
“Hearing aids are an investment,” Burr says. “They are not cheap to come by; so it is something to provide that option for people who maybe couldn’t afford them otherwise. It’s really why I got into what I do. This helps you have an impact on people and how they enjoy their lives.
“There is a quote from Helen Keller on my wall which says: ‘Blindness separates us from things. But deafness separates us from people.’ The fact I can help people like Marie-Louise enjoy life more, makes my life more enjoyable too.”
As for Marie-Louise, she hopes her story can inspire those who may be experiencing hearing loss to do something about it.
“I would say anybody who might suspect they have some hearing loss, or even if they are not sure, what’s the harm in trying to go get it checked?” she asks.
“There are a lot of people in Canada who have experienced some hearing loss, and actually only one out of five of those people actually get tested,” he states. “A lot of people get their eyes tested at the optometrist on an annual basis, but a lot of people don’t have a hearing test as part of their normal physical check-up regimen— and they really should.”
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