Hear Well Be Well provides free hearing aid to Shelburne man

·3 min read

After decades of struggling with hearing loss, a local man has been given the gift of hearing.

Shelburne resident Michael Lindsay was selected as one of five recipients in the province to receive their hearing aids and support services free of charge with the help of the Gift of Hearing program. He was nominated for the philanthropic program from Hear Well Be Well, by his wife Ashley.

“This is going to change my life dramatically – being able to hear again. I can stop pretending everything’s okay,” said Lindsay.

Lindsay first began to notice hearing loss in his early 20s and attributes it to loud music as well as his time as a drummer in a number of bands.

“I was a reckless teenager with big headphones and loud music,” said Lindsay. “I was in a couple bands, playing drums, as well as studio work. Back in the day when drummers had giant speakers pointed right at them and no hearing protection.”

While managing to bluff his way through conversations by learning to lip-read the best he could, eventually his hearing loss began to affect his drumming abilities.

“Where it really started to affect me was in keeping time,” he stated. “My brain knew what to do and my body knew what to do, but I was missing the syncopation. When the specialists at Hear Well Be Well said you don’t hear with your ears, you hear with your brain it really helped me start understanding my hearing loss.”

Lindsay’s family also felt the impact of his hearing loss. With four children, three of who are autistic, Lindsay often had trouble hearing them with their voices sounding like mumbles when there was background noise or certain voice tones. His wife, Ashley, would interpret for him and his children would have to change their behaviours to accommodate his hearing.

“I’ll be both a better husband and better father because I won’t be so frustrated and I won’t miss things,” said Lindsay.

Hear Well Be Well is an independent, family-run hearing aid clinic that has been helping people with their hearing health for over 35 years. The clinic has 13 locations in Ontario serving mid-size, small, and rural communities, with 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 need and circumstances. Recipients are selected by an impartial committee who review all nominations before selecting the final five.

“It’s important to 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, a family doctor, spoke about the impacts of untreated hearing loss and how it can affect an individual’s health.

“Hearing is one of the senses we use and perhaps do not appreciate the importance of, or the impact it can have on us when it deteriorates over time. One of the first test we undergo after birth is a hearing assessment because of how vital this is for our development,” said Dr. Tawfik. “When we lose our hearing, we interact less with the world around us; we may become lonely, depresses or even develop memory problem.”

Selected as a recipient of Gift of Hearing, Lindsay noted how being chosen for the program will change his life for the better for years to come.

“Your hearing is the last thing you think about. There comes a time when you learn wisdom comes with age. I look at where I am in life and now know you need to look after yourself,” said Lindsay. “I feel better about who I am and this is probably adding another 30 to 40 years of happy experiences for me.”

Paula Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shelburne Free Press

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