a month-long awareness extravaganza

by Ms. Joy

May is Speech and Hearing Awareness Month. It’s also Sexual Assault Awareness and Skin Cancer Awareness Month. I understand the initiative behind awareness days and months, it gives educators and regular people a reason to talk about different issues and keep them in the forefront, but if you listen to incredibly loud earphones, park in dark alleys and bake yourself to a crisp every other month of the year, the point of May’s awareness initiative is lost. Those promises you make to yourself and your family needs to carry through for the rest of the year. Not just today or until the end of the month.

The true intent of these awareness months is that we make life changes and sometimes those are really difficult. Do you know what else is difficult? Coping with hearing loss. PTSD from a sexual assault. Chemo. If that feels extreme to you, life is extreme. We all have this concept that it could simply not happen to me, it’s someone else’s problem. Well, sometimes it’s not someone else’s problem. Life is not a feel-good, inspirational movie starring Queen Latifah and Ryan Gosling’s ex-girlfriend.

I have written before about what it was like to learn Boy has unilateral hearing loss and it does not change who he is but it will have a lasting affect on his life. Roadie for a metal band is not a viable career option for him, not unless he wants to expand that hearing loss to both ears. The precautions we take with protecting his hearing (watching for signs of infection, keeping noise at an acceptable decibel) are actions we should all be taking. Once you lose your hearing, it’s not coming back, not without some very serious intervention. Be wise about it.