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My hearing aid is a part of me

Dale Sindell, an American woman who settled in Madrid, Spain more than 20 years ago, has always moved forward in spite of the fact that she has not only had to face her own hearing loss at a young age but her third son's hearing loss as well.

Now in her forties, Dale has exceeded all expectations. Her strong will and positive attitude have meant that she takes advantage of her hearing loss and at present she devotes herself to helping other parents and children recently diagnosed with hearing loss.

Moving forward - Always

Due to an otosclerosis disease, Dale Sindell was gradually losing her hearing without noticing it. It was not until she was in her twenties that she was diagnosed.

“I remember that in my last year at university, in French class, I interrupted the teacher without noticing that she was talking. My friend told me when the class was over and I was astonished. After having a hearing test it was confirmed, I had a hearing loss,” recalls Dale.

At that time she was so focused on starting her adult life that she did not give her hearing loss too much thought. Dale had surgery on her right ear, which is the normal procedure for patients with otosclerosis. Unfortunately, her hearing was not restored in that ear, and it got worse.

“It was a shock but I started using hearing aids and kept moving forward,” says Dale.

My hearing aid is a part of me

Nowadays, Dale has a severe to profound hearing loss and uses a hearing aid in her left ear. In her right ear she cannot discriminate sounds properly with a hearing aid.

“I do not recall having any trouble adapting to my hearing aid when I first got it,” explains Dale. “And now, it is a part of me. It is like wearing glasses, for example. You do not even notice that you are wearing them. It is something natural for me. What is not natural is not been able to hear,” says Dale.

“I wear my hearing aid from the moment I wake up until I go to bed. Without it I hear nothing. During the day I feel I am in my comfort zone because I have my hearing aid. It allows me to live as a normal, hearing person in a hearing world.”

Hearing aid technology has developed enormously since Dale used her first device.

“The only option my first hearing aid had was to adjust the volume. Nowadays, the sound you get is much better and they can be adapted to one's needs and preferences. In my case, I never use the standard program I always fit it to my needs. And they even come in beautiful colors and designs!” comments Dale.

Taking an active part

Dale did not focus too much on her hearing loss as she managed perfectly well in her daily life. However, when she was informed that her third son had a hearing loss her life changed. She did not think twice about it and decided to get involved actively in the hearing loss matter.

In February 2009 she founded her webwww.t-oigo.com to provide emotional and practical support to families of children with hearing loss.

“I try to give support and information to these families and I also try to raise hearing loss awareness in the general population,” says Dale. “People with normal hearing are not aware of the great progress achieved nowadays at a technological level. They are even creating a new generation of hearing impaired children, while now, with cochlear implants, high-tech digital hearing aids (waterproof and with build-in FM receptors), we live normal lives. My son, for example, is 9 years old and he is bilingual in English and Spanish,” adds Dale.

Ask for help

Dale has always been a very self-sufficient person, self-confident and with clear goals in life, but like anyone else, she is aware that if she needs help she must ask for it.

“Most of my friends and acquaintance forget I have a hearing loss, they see me as just like them, and they even consider that I am more capable than many people,” says Dale. “I realize that I am the one who has to ask for help when I need it, and I teach that to my son. You can be self-confident but you are the one who has to ask for help when you need it.

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