Hearing loss can be a solitary experience. You often miss the punch line of the joke and look around in confusion while everyone else is laughing. You are embarrassed to ask your friend to repeat herself for the third time so you just nod along and pretend you heard her instead. Significant concentration is required to follow conversations, leading to hearing loss exhaustion and general fatigue. Sometimes people with hearing loss decide socializing is not worth the effort and choose to isolate themselves. They start to avoid parties and intimate time with friends and family. This was the case for me.
My first hearing test was scary. I was only 26, in graduate school and afraid what the results would be. I was not optimistic. Adult-onset hearing loss ran in my family – my father and grandmother both had it. I had hoped it would skip a generation, but no such luck.