Stephen Peterson, Spicer, MN

“Don’t wait, especially if you are a Vet. The VA system is wonderful for support.”

How and when did you first realize you were experiencing hearing loss?

I grew up in the 60s, so between loud rock music, drag racing my car, scuba diving, flying airplanes, competing on a trap shooting team and last, but certainly the most significant, was my time in the Army Infantry. I was drafted in 1971, and never wore any ear hearing protection. Damage to my hearing was significant. But like so many vets I did nothing about my hearing issues.

Where did you first go for information or help? Why?

At age 65, I met a VA county officer at a meeting and we got to talking and she recommended I register for VA benefits. I was scheduled for a VA health assessment and hearing test. An audiologist gave me an exam and test in a sound booth, and recommended hearing aids. I especially could not hear high pitched sounds, or words with an “s.” They would use the word “shell,” and I always heard it as “bell.”

Based on your experience, do you have suggestions for others on how and where to start? Any other important things for them to consider?

Don’t wait, especially if you are a Vet. The VA system is wonderful for support. Also, my co-workers used to laugh and would say you can say anything to him as he walks away, he won’t hear you. Now they say, be careful what you say he hears everything. I also used to interrupt people when talking to them, the doctor at the VA said that was normal because my brain was trying to complete the sentence.

What was your biggest concern about hearing aids? Did that turn out to be true?

I was worried about appearance, but most people rarely even notice.

How have hearing aids changed your life?

I just enjoy hearing things so much better.

What would you tell someone who is considering hearing aids?

Don’t wait.

Who is your hearing care professional?

VA Medical Center St. Cloud MN

 

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