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Listening to Myself

Updated: Feb 29

Maria Laghi, CHC Client

In honor of World Hearing Day (3/3/24), CHC presents a series of posts on the topic of hearing loss and stigma—perspectives by CHC professionals, a hearing access advocate, and a CHC client to help us better understand misconceptions and inspire positive change.

A Hearing Loss Journey

Maria Laghi traveling in Italy

I’ve always prided myself on being a good listener, and that ability has enhanced my life through close friends, a love of the arts, and satisfaction in my work in public relations and fundraising. To me, being a good listener has meant being open to important cues from people, places and situations, and responding accordingly.


My listening skills have helped me make good choices in almost every context except one. About twenty years ago the cues were all around me—I was starting to notice hearing loss at the theater, in restaurants, in social contexts and, increasingly, at work. Unfortunately, although the evidence piled up, there was one person I simply refused to listen to: myself.

Listening to Common Misperceptions

The little voice inside my head told me I needed help, but I listened instead to the common misperceptions: eyeglasses are universal and can be cool, but wear a hearing aid and you risk appearing old, addled and out of touch. And when I was finally tested and agreed to a hearing aid, I insisted not on the best technology, but the least noticeable. My choice was uncomfortable and irritating, whistled on windy days, and looked like a hideous amoeba. So I used it only when absolutely necessary, which meant seldom.


My path to finally acknowledging my hearing loss began with an excuse I made to myself. Having recently retired, I began looking for a volunteer opportunity—something to do. A bit of research revealed the wonderful work the Center for Hearing and Communication (CHC) was doing with children and people facing the spectrum of hearing challenges.


Rediscovering Life's Pleasures

Here was an organization with a powerful mission, a track record of success, and professionals dedicated to helping “those people” with hearing loss. I was happy to offer some of my communication skills to help CHC raise awareness about the importance of addressing hearing loss and countering the very stigma and misperceptions that had hobbled my own journey to better hearing. I quickly came to recognize that “those people” experiencing and ignoring hearing loss included me!


The more I learned in working with my colleagues at CHC, the closer I got to recognizing my own struggles and denials and realizing it was time to actually practice what I preached. That’s when I became a client and changed my world—and my world view.


Through excellent care and state-of-the-art hearing aids, I have rediscovered the pleasures of theater, social gatherings, and the day-to-day texture of life. I’m happy to listen to and help friends facing their own doubts and denials, and to counter the stigma facing all of us with hearing loss—whatever our age.

Contact the Author

If you have questions or comments to share with the author, you can contact Maria Laghi at

World Hearing Day Blog Series

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