This Blog post means a lot to me. Why? I'll reveal that in a moment.

There's this old saying that goes, "Speak to the Infantryman slowly, but speak to the Artilleryman loudly!" Many will disagree, but all I know is that I've worn a hearing aid for years now and my Friends who wear Leather Personnel Carriers (LPCs, or boots for those of you not familiar with that term) tend to speak slowly to this old Red Leg Gun Bunny!

There's another term often used by those suffering from hearing loss: "Say What?"

The Urban Dictionary defines the term Say What? as follows:

"A term used when a person wishes for a surprising or astonishing statement to be repeated, or simply to show their surprise at said statement. To accurately model the timbre of the phrase, omit a high pitch during the last portion of the phrase in addition to stretching the "what" as long as deemed necessary by the user: Say (In high pitch) Whaaaat?!!"

Only we use that term to make sure we understood what was just said.

Yes, I suffer from hearing loss. Part of it stems from the loud hip-hop music I listened to growing up. Then there's the whole loudness of being in various bands over the years. Ultimately, my hearing loss reached its worst as a result of being near lots of loud military equipment - specifically Field Artillery weaponry. It started out as ringing in the ears, known clinically as Tinnitus, and escalated to high and higher degrees of hearing loss. Around December, I'm reminded of my condition every time that song "Do You Hear What I Hear?" comes on.

In spite of all of this, I obviously haven't lost my sense of humor. (I could fill this Blog with stories of what I thought was said versus what was actually said, and you'd get a smile on your face or a chuckle or two.)

In reality though, hearing loss is no joke. Nothing worse than being in a crowded room and everything appears as though you're watching movie that been dubbed-in from one language to another - the moving lips just don't match the sound you may or may not hear. Then there's the hearing aid issue. Some of those adaptive devices cost the equivalent of several car payments!

But, you wanna know the worst of it?

The worst thing about hearing loss is missing out on the things you love: conversations with Family, the challenge of fully appreciating music, and that feeling just missing out on things as they happen (having to ask "What did he/she say?" gets old quickly.)

So, there's hope for those of us with hearing loss. The old saying goes, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure", so let me now share with you some things that can help you or someone you know.

Check out some fun facts about hearing. These are pretty cool!

Ever wonder how the levels of noise differ? You might be surprised at the difference (measured in decibels) between Leaves Rustling and that Custom car stereo that's probably interrupting you as you read this. Check out this Levels of Noise Bookmark you can print and use.

The Military offers some great resources about hearing and hearing loss. Those Doctors at the military hospital or the VA known as Audiologists are typically members of The American Academy of Audiology. They've developed some Fact Sheets for you! Hear Ye! Hear Ye!

And finally, let any Students know that there's a cool contest happening now! Parents, this might even help you save some money come college tuition time! You can make you video go viral by producing a video! The inspiration of the video should come from "Celebrating 25 Years of Audiology" which coincides with the theme of the AudiologyNOW! 2013 convention. We would like all videos to reference the history of audiology from the beginning to present day. The grand prize for this is $250 funded by the AAA Foundation. I like the sound of that!

My hope is that you will take better care of your hearing than I did. You can make a difference now by paying closer attention to the sounds around you.

Sounds good to me!