Walk4Hearing 2007

2006 Walk4Hearing in PA
The 2007 Walk4Hearing will be held on October 28th! If you feel led to give, please visit my webpage at this link.
Please know that no amount given is “too small”! Every dollar goes towards helping us raise awareness about hearing loss!

National Capital Area Walk4Hearing

October 28, 2007

Did you know that tennis shoes make a scuffing noise when you walk on a paved walking trail? Did you know that fallen leaves rustle as the breeze picks them up in a miniature whirlwind and then gently sits them back down? Did you know that acorns make a small clicking sound as they bounce down the trunk of a tree and fall to the ground below? So many small and seemingly innocuous sounds are not even acknowledged by people who have normal hearing. However, when I began to “hear again” after the activation of my Nucleus Freedom cochlear implant, these sounds were as if I had heard them for the first time.

 

I lost my hearing over the period of twelve years. I’m certain that these wonderful small sounds were lost to me long before I began having trouble with voices. I participated in the 2006 Walk4Hearing in Pennsylvania with my family. I had only been activated for 13 months at the time of the Walk, and I remember the experience much differently than my family recollects. They remember what it was like to walk along side of hundreds of individuals who care about hearing loss. They remember the conversations and fellowship of caring people with a shared passion. Certainly, I enjoyed being with people and having conversations. However, the memories imprinted on my mind and heart were the sounds I heard on that Walk that I had not heard in years.

 

I remember stopping at a water station with a group of “walkers”, and listening with wide-eyed wonder at the sound of numerous water bottles gurgling in unison as thirsts were quenched. Sounds that I recall are sounds that I found I had to ask help from others to identify.

 

“What’s that sound? Shhh! Everyone quiet… keep walking… what’s that sound?”

 

Would you believe our clothing makes a sound? Our team had six walkers – all wearing shorts – and all making a sound of friction as we hustled along the walking trail.

 

Prior to the activation of my Nucleus Freedom, these sounds would have been nonexistent for me. These sounds were things even my family with normal hearing did not realize were lost to me. Once again hearing voices, allowing free-flowing conversation, was the sound that one hopes to regain as a cochlear implant recipient. The small sounds that are ignored by people with normal hearing are an extra bonus!

 

The 2007 Walk4Hearing for the National Capital Area is in the autumn. I know that as my team walks along the trails at Damascus Recreational Park, I will be hearing some new things. It is very likely that I will ask for help in identifying new sounds. “What’s that sound?” is a favorite question of most Nucleus Freedom recipients who are activated as adults.

 

The Walk4Hearing is an organized and national fundraising event to help raise money for local HLAA chapters, and the national organization that is the Hearing Loss Association of America. As important as raising money is to the organization, raising awareness is even more so. It is through the Hearing Loss Association of America that I first learned that “there is life after hearing loss”. If it had not been for HLAA, I would not have learned about cochlear implants from a consumer’s point of view. I would not have had the opportunity to meet people who had been implanted, and were hearing again.

 

I am walking with the Maryland Dream Team, and am very excited about the event. We will be walking on Sunday, October 28th. I am already practically “tense” with excitement over what I will be hearing. A day does not go by that I do not hear something new. It is my hope that the Walk4Hearing will put hearing loss on the national radar. As the event grows each and every year, I feel certain it will do just that!

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