Meet Phonak Teen Advisor Mia Schartau
Well, I’ve got a bit of an odd story. I was born with a 30 decibel(dB) conductive hearing loss which was corrected through surgery.
As I grew up I still was struggling with hearing and understanding. At age nine I was diagnosed with Central Auditory Processing Disorder which meant my brain couldn’t accurately process sound.
Receiving my first pair of hearing aids, just over a year ago
In November of 2017, I was diagnosed once again with a 30dB hearing loss. So my audiologist and I are not sure if I had always had that level of hearing loss or if it had come back. In February 2018 my hearing dropped to 63dB in my right ear and 55dB in my left ear. As of November 2018, I’ve lost about 95 decibels bilaterally.
My hearing loss is progressive hearing loss and we aren’t sure if it’s sensorineural or central. Central hearing loss is in the brainstem or auditory cortex whereas sensorineural is in the inner ear or auditory nerve.
I use Phonak Sky V hearing aids in the color Majesty Purple with a blue ear hook on the left and red ear hook on the right. I love to decorate my hearing aids, so at any given point in time, they might be a different color. I also use a ComPilot and a Roger TouchScreen Mic.
My earliest memory of wearing hearing aid technology was November 30th, 2017. I was really overwhelmed. I almost cried because there were so many things I hadn’t ever heard. I started touching everything in the room because I had no idea that so many objects made sound. Did you know footsteps made sounds? I didn’t!
“I almost cried because there were so many things I hadn’t ever heard.”
It took a year to convince my parents that I needed my hearing tested by an audiologist. That was the biggest obstacle I had to face. Now I struggle with accepting the fact that my hearing loss has progressed so quickly.
I love being deaf; it has opened so many opportunities for me but sometimes I want a break from the constant decline of my hearing and visits to the audiologist. I now use American Sign Language as my preferred mode of communication and I deeply value how much my hearing aids have opened up my world. Both have helped give me more confidence.
“I now use American Sign Language as my preferred mode of communication and I deeply value how much my hearing aids have opened up my world.”
When I think about my journey and how I can use it to help others, the first thought that pops into my head is go to an audiologist, learn some sign language and advocate for what you need. If you think you’re losing your hearing, go to an audiologist.
Keep pushing until you get an answer. It might not be easy but it’s important. There are so many different ways to communicate and technology has come so far. Hearing loss isn’t the end of the world even though some days it might feel like that.
Find your people. It will be okay.
Did you read the article about Phonak Teen Advisor Tinson? Read it here!