We are a nation of storytellers. Woven into the fabric of our being from our very first days, trading and sharing stories is how we learn to communicate, make friends, and feel our way through the world.
In school, we learnt about the Fianna, The Children of Lir, Cuchulainn, and Tír na Nóg. Through Irish mythology, we explored our cultural heritage, and our land. We walked with giants and bowed down to our heroes, our imagination fuelled by tales of romance, conflict, magic, mythical creatures, and the lure of eternal youth.
Despite all advances gleaned from the internet and the burgeoning digital age, the significance of our oral history has not been lost on our nation’s youth, the gift of the gab still bestowed at birth to anyone possessing in them an ounce of Irish blood. We tell stories like we drink tea – so often that sometimes we don’t even realise we’re doing it…
A form of social currency, telling tales – whether tall or small – allows us to spark connections, form, and strengthen relationships, while our propensity for just the odd bit of exaggeration and embellishment serves only to harness and bolster engagement – no harm done there!
So whether face to face or over the phone, a good chat has been known to invigorate, as well as nourish the soul, and warm the cockles of your heart. But what if lately you’ve noticed something’s amiss, or not quite right? More and more, you’re straining to hear, and more and more, you’re dipping out of the conversation, catching only bits and pieces and feeling a little lost… Sound at all familiar? Well firstly, you’re not alone. Unfortunately, age and hearing loss tend to come hand in hand, but that doesn’t mean you just have to sit back and accept it.
Rarely discussed in the public domain, the effects of hearing loss can take their toll on physical and mental health in more ways than one. From stigma to stress, a change in your hearing – regardless of severity – can result in isolation and confusion, while attempting to navigate and understand what it means for your future. Wondering if people have noticed, questioning whether you’ll need hearing aids, and worrying if the loss will only get worse can easily spark fear, causing a person to go inward, feeling more comfort in denial than actually seeking help.
While withdrawal might seem natural at first, it won’t be long until a sense of loneliness kicks in, as you find yourself less and less likely to pick up the phone or engage in social activities. And while a fear of the unknown is natural, it can cause us to make questionable decisions – we find ourselves opting for seclusion and making excuses. But pulling away isn’t the answer, not when we were born with an innate talent for spinning yarns, chewing the ears off each other, and having the absolute craic. It’s your natural born rite to talk, to share, to listen, to twist and turn and tweak, dress up or dress down a story.
The older you get, your social outlets, and the way in which you communicate become more and more important (the irony of which isn’t lost on anyone, don’t worry). So, what are your options? While it might seem daunting, the first step comes in acknowledging the issue. Communicate (there’s that word again) with an ally – a trusted friend, loving partner, or supportive family member. Discuss the problem and what you’d like to do about it. Book a hearing test, face the music, and find yourself back in the circle again, joining (and adding to) the conversation the way you know how – with gusto, and grace. It will be ok.
Book a Free Hearing Test at Hidden Hearing
Hidden Hearing is Ireland’s leading private provider of hearing care solutions, and our national network includes over eighty branches and clinics. We provide free hearing tests and our experienced team of audiologists will help you to find the best solution for your lifestyle.