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Hear for the Holidays Winner 2018

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Dorothy is looking forward to a Christmas miracle, the miracle of talking with family members coming to her Escondido home on Christmas Day after years of being left out of the family conversation because of hearing loss.

“It’s going to be a new experience for mom,” Dorothy’s daughter Donna said.

It will also be a new experience for some of the younger members of the family who haven’t experienced Dorothy in her full element.

“I’ve always been a social person,” Dorothy said, which was greatly inhibited by her hearing loss.

She’s been shut out of conversations for the past 15 years as her hearing deteriorated and she was unable to afford quality hearing aids.

“Every time we used to talk, she would have to ask what we just said,” Donna said. “We’d constantly have to repeat it. It tries your patience.”

Instead of losing her patience altogether, Donna wrote an essay for the Hear for the Holidays contest, sponsored by Palomar Health’s Director of Audiology David Illich, Au.D. and Oticon. This was the 14th year of the essay contest, with the winner receiving state-of-the-art Oticon hearing devices donated by Oticon and fittings and lifetime checkups from Dr. Illich.

When Donna told Dorothy she had won the essay contest and Dorothy would be receiving new hearing aids, Dorothy said, “I was so excited; I couldn’t believe it.”

Since being fitted with the new hearing aids, Dorothy says a whole new world has opened. She says when she walks outside she hears sounds she’s never heard before. When she dances, she can hear the words to the song. When she talks to people at the senior center, she doesn’t have to pretend like she knows what they are saying.

“I would just nod a little (when engaged in conversation). Now I can hear,” Dorothy said enthusiastically.

There is a gentleman at the senior center she used to think mumbled but after getting the new hearing aids she said, “I found out he doesn’t mumble; it was my hearing!”

The other day hundreds of people attended Donna’s art show and she noticed her mom talking with lots of different people.

“She had conversations like I’d never seen before. She didn’t have to keep asking people, ‘What did you say?’”
All the rediscovered socialization has Donna especially excited about the holidays. “This Christmas is going to be magical because we’ll all be sitting around the table, and there’s going to be a lot more engagement (from mom).”