Hearing impairment is still all too often located in a world of ‘shame’. Hearing aids are synonymous with ‘old’ and a cochlear implant is synonymous with ‘deaf and dumb’. I have experienced this all too often since I have been hard of hearing. Of course, this is not true and I would like to change this.

The number of people with hearing problems is increasing significantly, but on average, people only choose a solution after about seven years. It is high time to tell a positive story about hearing loss. By showing that solutions do exist and that you can function perfectly well at work, pursue your hobbies and hang out with friends.

I am so convinced that hearing solutions need to be better known that I quit my job in politics and got the opportunity to work for an international company that specialises in making hearing implants. Every day, I am in the world of hearing solutions and see how people’s lives are improved. The time has come for my story to provide inspiration. So that, hopefully, even more people will choose customised hearing solutions sooner.

My story should complement the medical explanations given by doctors, audiologists … It is a story that explains the experience and perception of hearing loss and hearing solutions. I would like to open up a public debate and advocate that the government should continue to invest in hearing solutions because they enable people to work according to their talents, to be active in social life and because choosing hearing solutions slows down cognitive decline and dementia.

My story should also encourage other people to share their experience with others. Everyone who chooses a hearing solution has a unique story: if we all spread the word, we will inspire those people who are in denial today.

This book also tells the stories of other people with hearing loss. They each describe their experiences with tinnitus, unilateral deafness, deafness at birth, DFNA9,… It is amazing how they cope with this and show that life does not stop at hearing loss.

The proceeds of this book go entirely to the good cause of hearing.

My Hearing Journey is for sale as an e-book for € 14 via https://bookbar.be

About the author: ROB BEENDERS (42), former council member of the City of Hasselt and former member of the Flemish Parliament, does not see himself as someone suffering from hearing loss, even though he wears a cochlear implant on the left side and a compatible hearing aid on the right side. He works full time, is an active runner, and has a busy social life.

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