• Raegene Castle

    SOUND OFF with…

    Peninsula Chapter Member, volunteer, friend, and wife/mother/grandmother.

    1. What was the moment when you realized that you had a hearing loss? What did you do about it?

    In January 2000, I contracted meningitis and ended up in Sequoia Hospital in a coma for 10 days. When I came out of the coma I couldn’t walk, see clearly, hear, feed myself or remember anything, not even my grandchildren’s names. The antibiotics saved my life but might have caused me to lose my hearing completely in my left ear and almost completely in my right ear. Eight months later I purchased a hearing aid for my right ear and two years later I tried a Cochlear Implant that didn’t work because the Meningitis caused too much calcification in my left ear.

    2. How has your hearing loss affected your life?

    My family, friends and I had to make a great many adjustments due to this very profound change. My involvement in HLAA helped tremendously. HLAA offers a great deal of education and support for those people with a hearing loss.

    3. What current issue related to hearing loss would you like to see addressed more? Why?

    1. The public’s awareness of looping. Looping offers all of us with hearing aids the opportunity to participate. Public venues, theaters, houses of worship, stores, banks, etc. can offer their services to the hard of hearing community (17% of the population). On a personal note, I would have enjoyed hearing my grandchildren’s graduation ceremonies and my grandson’s starring roles in theater productions.
    2. The public’s awareness that hearing loss is a disability, it is invisible, unlike other disabilities that the public is very aware of.

    4. What would you like to tell the younger generation?

    Take better care of your hearing. There are many factors that they need to be aware of that would damage their hearing.

    5. What technologies are the most useful to you? How?

    1. I use the pocketalker with a loop and a microphone every day. With my hearing loss I would not be able to communicate without them.
    2. Closed captioning – I use this at our meetings, HLAA conventions and also with my TV loop that I sit on to better hear the TV.
    3. There are many other devices I use to help me cope with my hearing loss.

    6. I am a member of HLAA because...

    I love being around all my friends who help support me and our organization. We are accomplishing a great deal. Our demonstration of 25 devices once a month; Walk4Hearing; health fairs; hospital kits, to name a few. I’ve learned so much in the past 11 years and I’m so grateful to have the Hearing Loss Association of America in my life.