Gravenhurst Resident Gets Gift Of Hearing To Start The New Year


Untreated hearing loss can be isolating and that isolation can dramatically change a life.

For Santa Beaver of Gravenhurst isolation became a way of coping with her hearing loss. She became so isolated she stopped leaving the house.

“Due to her feelings of awkwardness and frustration over the situation, she rarely comes out to gatherings anymore, and we really miss her laughter and quirky sense of humour,” said Theresa Buker, one of the people who nominated Beaver for the Hear Well Be Well Gift of Hearing program that delivers hearing aids, support and service all at no charge to those who have struggled to get hearing support.

“She opened her home to activities held by our newly formed Muskoka Indigenous Friendship Centre in 2019,” added Buker. “About 20 people would gather weekly for food, crafts, laughter, and general companionship. Then Covid shut us down in 2020. Even as we moved to zoom, Santa started withdrawing because she couldn’t even hear us on that platform and reading lips there is not the same. Now that we are back meeting in person, I noticed a huge change in her ability to connect with conversations around her.”

“There was no point in talking to anyone because I couldn’t hear them,” Beaver expressed. “There was no clarity to the conversation. I could hear some noise but there was no clarity.

“I think sometimes people took it to mean I didn’t care, especially my husband,” she added. “Eventually I told my husband I just can’t hear.”

Beaver first noticed her hearing loss six years ago. For many people, hearing loss creeps up on them and they find ways to cope. The isolation many use to cope has been shown to contribute to the risk of dementia and depression.

Untreated hearing loss has been associated with a high risk of developing dementia, depression and an increase in falls. Hearing loss can occur from several things, not just age. It can be caused by medications, illness, loud noise damage and more.

“Socially my life will definitely be improved,” Beaver explained. “I go to lots of ladies’ and sewing groups and now I’ll be able to hear.

“They won’t be able to talk about me, because now I’ll be able to hear them,” she laughed.

Hear Well Be Well’s Gift of Hearing program delivers hearing aids and services to people in Ontario through a nominations process. An impartial selection committee reads every nomination and chooses finalists who cannot access hearing support. This year, Gift of Hearing accepted nominations twice with the second batch being processed in time for many recipients to receive their hearing aids in time for the holidays.

“It’s not a contest or a random draw,” explained Kathleen Tiede, Co-CEO of Hear Well Be Well. “The selection committee looks for those who have the most need based on the information in the nomination.

“With the support of manufacturer Signia, we’re happy to be able to do a second round of Gift of Hearing this year,” she added, “We’re able to gift hearing aids and all services and support to recipients in Ontario thanks to the support of this great manufacturer. With what so many people went through with COVID, this is the right year to do more than one round of nominations.”

The Gift of Hearing program at Hear Well Be Well started in 2014. Since that time, hundreds of Ontario residents have received the gift of hearing – hearing aids and service at no charge.

Beaver had been to other hearing clinics and was dissatisfied with the testing results and recommendations.

“I trust Hear Well Be Well more than anyone. I’ve been to others, both here and in the States,” she added. “The other businesses are obviously in it only for the money. Hear Well Be Well did more testing and I trust the results and the people. And I’m not just saying that because I’m a Gift of Hearing recipient.”

Hearing tests at Hear Well Be Well are free.


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