Connor's Story: "I didn't really understand why I needed hearing aids and didn't know how to explain them to my peers."

March 4, 2021

by Elizabeth Linsdell

Connor Brady is a 25-year-old carpenter from Sydney’s Northern Beaches. Connor was born with a hearing loss and fitted with hearing aids at an early age. As a child, Connor made it a habit of removing his hearing aids on the way to school. After realising that he had missed out on many sounds and important information during his school years, Connor visited a clinic at 18 and was fitted with new hearing aids which he committed to wearing.

Connor is a 25-year-old carpenter from the Northern Beaches, Sydney.

What does Hearing Awareness Week mean to you?

Hearing Awareness Week for me is a week dedicated to understanding what hearing loss is all about. It’s an important week to spread information so more people have a clearer understanding and hopefully we can squash the misconceptions that surround hearing loss.

Could you tell us about your own experience with hearing loss? In what ways did it impact you? Did you notice a difference between the challenges at home and at school?

I was born with hearing loss that has travelled down my family tree, so all my life I’ve been supposed to wear hearing aids.

I was given my first pair of hearing aids when I started primary school, however, I took them out on my way to school because I didn’t really understand why I needed them and didn’t know how to explain them to my peers. As I got older, towards the end of my high school life, I was beginning to miss more and more information and it was clear that I was starting to struggle in some areas. So, I went to a hearing clinic and requested a pair of hearing aids. I now wear them every day at work.

At home, during my youth, my hearing loss was never a big problem. The house is a quieter environment, and my sister and dad also have hearing loss - we just had to speak a little clearer.

Hearing technology has impacted my life massively, I can’t even imagine how difficult it would be without my hearing aids.

Do you think people generally understand the impact of hearing loss?

Yeah, I think most people understand - or have some kind of understanding - of what hearing loss is. However, I do think that some people don’t quite understand how difficult hearing loss can be, or how it can create self-consciousness. I’d like to see Hearing Awareness Week help others understand this.

How has hearing technology impacted your life? How do you see technology assisting in the future?

Hearing technology has impacted my life massively, I can’t even imagine how difficult it would be without my hearing aids. Hearing aids are so small now, and they’re only going to get smaller and sound better over time. The ones I wear already are tiny and sit in my ear canals.

How does hearing loss impact you at work?

Being a carpenter with hearing loss can be difficult on site. My job involves me being in a super noisy environment, and it does get challenging sometimes. If I’m using loud tools or someone is trying to communicate through walls, it can be difficult for me to hear them.

I always keep my earmuffs with me at work to protect my hearing. I’m thankful for the guys I work with, as they know about the difficulty and tend to be more patient and understanding.

I always try my best to look after my ears, and I tell my friends to do the same.

What’s something you wish other people knew about hearing loss?

My hearing is going to get worse over time. I started to notice it when I was around 18. I was told that my eardrums don’t heal as well as other people’s do, and that’s why my ears tend to ring more than others. So tinnitus, the ringing in your ears, is also something to be aware of.

I always try my best to look after my ears, and I tell my friends to do the same.

Connor and his girlfriend, Olivia, in Japan.

by Elizabeth Linsdell
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