Before I begin, I want to mention what an honor it was to work alongside seasoned audiologists across the country and having the opportunity to learn from them still (I am forever a student). In my hearing aid fitting room were Brandi, my officemate who is an audiology assistant and training to be a Hearing Aid Dispenser, and Al Turri’s high school daughter Gabriella, who translated Portuguese for us. As the day wore on, we found our footing and rhythm. We also found profound moments of humanity.
I am writing this post at 11:15pm at night. I want to put my thoughts down before the day gets away from me. My feet are swollen and my back aches. We spent 14 hours in the hospital and fit 100 patients with hearing aids (that is 20 patients per audiology station, for those counting). I recount their stories in my heart. Today’s hearing aid fittings were filled with moments of gratitude, sadness, and hope.
Today I learned the story of Maria. At 76 years old, she still works, as does her husband, who is 84 years old. She tends a farm and he cuts open coconut on a roadside farm stand. Maria was also diagnosed with cancer and travels several hours to the city to receive treatment. She tells me how she is now anticipating hearing her husband speak to her, and paying better attention to all the farm animals she tends to, especially the chicks “because of their soft chirps.” “I haven’t heard that sound in years” she says, with a far away look in her eyes. As Maria tells her story, I marvel at her strength to push through cancer, work, travel for treatment, and her hearing loss all at once, all at age 84.
We program Maria’s hearing aids and run our test measures. Her eyes light up once her hearing aids are activated. Maria smiles so big. Moments later she is overcome with emotion and tears up. We hug.
Maria asks me if she can pray for us, and I nod yes. I am crying. We are all crying. She says many prayers and I don’t understand what she is saying but it is quite possibly the greatest gift of the day, because it is true and from her heart. She hugs each of us long and hard. It is difficult to recover from that moment. The next patient is brought back to our office and our eyes are not yet dry.
Yasmin Battat, AuD
Oracle Hearing Center
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