After Holly Campbell finished working with a hearing therapist, she reflected back on her journey and kindly shared with us some of the ways Hearing Therapy changed her life.
When Holly Campbell started seeing Auckland hearing therapist Debbie Brown from Life Unlimited Hearing Therapy she’d just lost a fulltime job due to her hearing loss.
“I felt like it was the worst thing about me and I really couldn’t deal with it. Because of that one hiccup I forgot all the things that I had achieved despite my hearing loss,” says Holly.
Her hearing affected most areas of her life. Holly felt it was limiting her professionally and socially, and impacting on relationships with friends, family and work colleagues.
She’d got her first set of hearing aids at eight years of age, but as an adult she still struggled with them. Holly was withdrawn and anxious in social situations and lacked confidence.
Holly’s goal – “to not be limited by hearing loss” – was ambitious.
Debbie and Holly worked on a management plan made up of smaller, more manageable goals – to feel less anxious when going out; to be more confident talking about her hearing loss and her hearing needs; and to learn new skills to communicate better with others including children.
“Holly was really motivated to make change. She was very open to sharing her issues and working together to achieve her goals,” says Debbie.
Regular rehabilitation sessions over five months focused on developing strategies to support Holly to reach her goals. They included effective communication strategies, hearing tactics, repair strategies to keep conversation flowing and assertiveness strategies to allow Holly to discuss her hearing needs with others.
The sessions with Debbie also provided an opportunity to talk about any new issues she was facing and to reflect and evaluate the success of strategies she was putting into place.
“Reflecting on what works well and not so well is really important. Through this reflection process we are continually practicing self-learning,” says Debbie.
Holly says her life has since changed and she is now more confident and less withdrawn.
“Before I started hearing therapy with Debbie, I would dread social situations because I felt like I was never fully involved in conversations because of my hearing loss,” says Holly.
“I hardly ever have anxiety when I go out now, which is great because I am going out a lot more and being more social.”
In the past, Holly was often reliant on family and her partner to fill in the gaps in conversation. It sometimes meant they dominated conversation and she felt dependent on them.
“[My partner] has noticed a difference in terms of my confidence and overall happiness which in turn has improved our relationship,” says Holly.
It’s also improved relationships with friends and helped them to be more understanding of how hearing loss impacts her.
“I feel more comfortable talking to my friends about my hearing loss. Before I used to hide it and never talk about it, and therefore they never understood it or knew how to talk to me properly,” says Holly.
“I have stopped bluffing that I can hear them and I am now understanding them a lot more and enjoying their company rather than dreading it.”
Holly says life isn’t without challenges though. As a photographer she often works with large groups which can be difficult, but now her confidence is improving she’s better able to cope in these situations and she’s learnt to “let go” and not dwell on bad experiences.
Hearing therapy isn’t a quick fix. It can be a long journey and take real commitment. Debbie says often people can forget what the starting point was like and how life has changed.
“Holly had taken a severe knock to her confidence and because of previous bad experiences regarding her hearing had lost sight of her own capabilities. It was really important that she was able to acknowledge just how far she had come and how capable she is,” says Debbie.
“It was such a rewarding experience working with Holly and seeing the positive change that occurred for her both personally and in her day-to-day life,” says Debbie.
“I am so glad that I came across Hearing Therapy. Being able to talk to someone that understood all the struggles I had and getting tips and ways to cope for nearly every situation I struggled in, was so important and improved my confidence and my own understanding of my hearing loss,” says Holly.
“I feel like I can do anything I set my mind to now and my hearing loss will not be a limitation, only a mere obstacle that I can overcome.”