June 30, 2022 0 comments
By Paula Brown, Local Journalism Initiative reporter
After decades of battling hearing loss, a Dufferin man has been given the gift of hearing.
Shelburne resident Michael Lindsay was selected as one of five recipients across the province to receive free hearing aids and support services through the Gift of Hearing program. He was nominated for the Hear Well Be Well philanthropic program, by his wife Ashley.
“It’s going to be a life changer for me – being able to hear again. I can stop pretending everything is fine,” Lindsay said.
Lindsay began noticing hearing loss in her early twenties and attributes it to loud music as well as her time as a drummer in a number of bands.
“I was a reckless teenager with big headphones and loud music,” Lindsay said. “I was in a few bands, playing drums and working in the studio. Back when drummers had giant speakers pointed straight at them and no hearing protection.
While he managed to navigate his way through conversations by learning to lip-read as best he could, his hearing loss eventually began to affect his drumming abilities.
“Where it really started to affect me was keeping time,” he said. “My brain knew what to do and my body knew what to do, but I was missing syncope. When the specialists at Hear Well Be Well said you don’t hear with your ears, you hear with your brain, that made me really helped to start understanding my hearing loss.
Lindsay’s family has also felt the impact of her hearing loss. With four children, three of whom are autistic, Lindsay often struggled to hear them, their voices sounding like mumbles when there was background noise or certain voice tones. His wife, Ashley, would perform for him, and his children would have to change their behaviors to accommodate his audition.
“I will be both a better husband and a better father because I won’t be so frustrated and I won’t miss anything,” Lindsay said.
Hear Well Be Well is an independent, family-run hearing aid clinic that has been helping people improve their hearing health for over 35 years. The clinic has 13 locations across Ontario serving medium, small and rural communities, including one located in Orangeville at 37A Broadway.
The Gift of Hearing program has been an important part of Hear Well Be Well since 2013. The program sees recipients chosen from nominations based on their needs and circumstances. Recipients are selected by an impartial committee that reviews all nominations before selecting the final five.
“It’s important for us to give back to the communities that have supported us,” said Kathleen Tiede, co-CEO of Hear Well Be Well. “Every day we see the difference it makes in people’s lives when they get their hearing back.”
Dr. Rasha Tawfik, family physician, spoke about the repercussions of untreated hearing loss and how it can affect a person’s health.
“Hearing is one of the senses we use that we may not appreciate the importance or the impact it can have on us when it deteriorates over time. One of the first tests we undergo after birth is a hearing assessment because of its importance to our development,” Dr Tawfik said. “When we lose our hearing, we interact less with the world around us; we can become lonely, depressed or even develop memory problems.
Selected as a recipient of the Gift of Hearing, Lindsay noted how being chosen for the program will change her life for the better for years to come.
“Your audition is the last thing on your mind. There comes a time when you learn that wisdom comes with age. I look at where I am in life and know now that you have to take care of you,” Lindsay said. “I feel better about myself and that probably adds another 30 to 40 years of happy experiences for me.”