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Asking For Help: M’s Journey to Complete Hearing Loss

As I begin this article to kickstart another FTF Media fundraiser, I wanted to reinforce the fact that each of you who contributed to our last one helped change my life for the better. I’d like to thank everyone who read and shared my insulin pump fundraiser article, as well as those who donated to the fundraiser itself. Because of your generosity, we were able to raise over $5,000; I was able to use those funds to secure my insulin pump and other supplies while donating the rest to another important cause. Feel free to refer back to both my fundraiser article and the post I shared detailing my Type 1 Diabetes diagnosis for more information, but I just wanted to make sure you all knew how thankful I am for the love and support you provided me. I’ve had my pump for 60 days now and it has completely changed my quality of life for the better. Now that I’ve seen the generosity of others and had my life changed by a medical device, I’m reaching out again, this time to help another person in need. My friend, ‘M,’ is desperately seeking financial support in order to secure a necessary medical device. We’re going to refer to her as ‘M’ for both privacy and safety reasons. Here is her story.

‘M’ partially lost her hearing at the age of 13; she was told that this hearing loss was progressive and that it could potentially be lost completely at any time. Every year afterward, her hearing got worse and worse until 2 years ago, when she woke up one morning to complete silence. ‘M’ is a very strong woman and has not had it easy - I mean, imagine being a 21-year-old college student and waking up without being able to hear a thing. She went from 50% loss in both ears to 95% loss in her right ear and 97% in her left. ‘M’ describes this moment as her life being turned upside down. She went to multiple audiologists during this journey to complete hearing loss, only to be ignored and dismissed by them all. They told her that this condition was very rare and there was no way she had it. I know exactly how she must have felt in that timeframe, because the first doctor I saw back in 2018 when I started to get very sick dismissed me as well, telling me I was completely healthy. In reality, I had Type 1 Diabetes. Had that doctor listened and took my words seriously, that year would have gone much differently for me. I’m sorry that ‘M’ had to deal with that same sad medical experience.

Eventually, ‘M’ was able to find an audiologist that both cared and listened, pointing her in the direction of Audibel, which helped to change her life. Audibel is a company that provides hearing aids to those who deal with partial or complete hearing loss. Initially, ‘M’ was provided with a hearing aid that didn’t completely suit her needs, but she now has one that’s been working adequately. She’s never had hearing aids for both ears at one time, though; just to get the one she currently has, ‘M’ had to fight for a medical loan because, unfortunately, hearing aids can be very expensive. In this case, the cost $5,200 each - ‘M’ recently paid off the loan for the first hearing aid, which is amazing, but unfortunately can’t secure a medical loan for the second. Despite applying several times, she’s constantly been told “no.” Once again, I know how that feels, as I was told “no” for two years straight while seeking my continuous glucose monitor and insulin pump. Seeking loans can be a very frustrating process that takes a toll on someone’s mental health, as being told “no” over and over and over again never gets any easier. We’re so thankful that ‘M’ was able to get one hearing aid, but it has become necessary at this point for her to secure hearing aid number two.

With her medical loans being denied over and over again, we at For The Fans Media decided to step in and help raise money for ‘M’ so that she can get the help she so desperately needs. The initial plan was for ‘M’ to get her first hearing aid and then wait some time before trying to get the second. However, having only one hearing aid has actually caused her some other medical problems. She now deals with migraines due to only having hearing in one ear; this is due to the fact that one ear is doing the work of both. The migraines have subsequently caused ‘M’ some severe exhaustion as well; migraines and exhaustion have negatively impacted her life as a full-time college student, as she has to sit through some longer lectures and cannot take the necessary hearing breaks. When a person loses their hearing, they tend to have another sense, such as smell, heightened. Well, when you add a device like a hearing aid into the mix, that sense of hearing has to learn how to work all over again; the brain is also no longer used to having to process sound, which causes both strain and exhaustion over time.

‘M’ currently uses the hearing aid in her right ear and, due to the right side having to do all the work, she experiences what’s called ‘listen fatigue.’ Wearing her hearing aid can often make ‘M’ not just mentally or emotionally tired, but physically, too. This is where the hearing or listening breaks come into play. A listening or hearing break is where someone can turn off or take out their hearing device to give their brain a rest. Since ‘M’ is currently a full-time student and in more social situations, the amount of time she uses her device has increased. As I mentioned above, it’s very difficult for her to take these hearing breaks while in school. The increased exhaustion and frequency of severe migraines ‘M’ has been experiencing has heightened her need for a second device. Instead of waiting years to get a second hearing aid, it has become necessary to her emotional, mental and physical health to have two of them. The need has now reached a point where ‘M’ can’t wait much longer to get it.

Seeing that ‘M’ is a full-time college student and has been denied about 12 different times for medical loans, this price of $5,200 just isn’t feasible without help; that’s where we come in. The device that ‘M’ needs is specific to both the level and type of hearing loss that she has, which is why it’s so expensively priced. Hearing aids can only hold up to a certain amount of decibels of sound - the one ‘M’ has (and currently needs a duplicate of) are not “standard” hearing aids. This device will not only help with her mental, physical and emotional health, but also with her future career goals. She’s currently studying Criminal Justice and her lifelong dream is to become a Police Officer. We know that ‘M’ can achieve this dream because she’s such a strong, passionate and determined woman. However, she will be unable to attend the Police Academy without the second hearing aid, as not having the second device would be considered an officer safety issue. She’s been told by many that, because she is deaf, she will not be able to become a Police Officer. With this second device, ‘M’ will achieve her dream.

We’re asking for any donations to be sent to my personal Venmo or PayPal because, as I mentioned in the very beginning of this article, ‘M’ has requested for her identity to be kept secret for privacy and safety reasons. We will, however, be updating everyone on our progress through social media as we receive donations. Once again, the goal is $5,200; my Venmo is @Haley-Williams-1219 and my PayPal is @hwill1219. As soon as I receive any donations, they will immediately be forwarded to ‘M.’ Thank you all so much for taking the time to read this article about ‘M’ and her story. We would ask for you to please share this article across social media platforms, so that others can learn of and donate to her cause. If you are in a position to, we would ask that you please donate so that we can help ‘M’ get the very necessary medical help she needs. My insulin pump completely changed my life and FTF Media wants to be able to do the same for ‘M’ as well with this hearing aid. No one should have to fight so hard for such a necessary medical device. You can find me on Instagram or on Twitter if you have any questions or need help donating. Thank you in advance!

- Haley (@CSIHALEY)

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