Meet Jeff Bonnell, GCDHH’s own former Hard of Hearing board member!

GCDHH

MAY, 4, 2021

Tell us about yourself (occupation, married, children, etc..)

Greetings I’m Jeff Bonnell, State Director for GA for the Hearing Loss Association of America and I am from Worthington, Ohio. I was born deaf in my right ear. My left ear compensated for my deaf ear so well most people didn’t know I was deaf in one ear. That was until I had a minor stroke in 1999. I lost 95% of my hearing in my ‘good’ ear. My excellent audiologist fitted me with a hearing aid and I could hear! Over the next 15 years, my hearing deteriorated and stronger hearing aids helped. Then in 2015, I could hear but I could no longer understand ‘ I had outgrown my hearing aid. Cochlear implant surgery followed and my hearing has improved immensely. I hear and I understand! I learned to read lips as a youngster and I still use that skill to ‘fill in’ for words I didn’t hear.

How long have you been Hard of Hearing and what is your preferred mode of communication?

Fortunately I’ve always been around family and friends who supported my hearing loss. Their help has been keen, but I went through stages of feeling alone, isolated, and not fitting in because I couldn’t hear. The miracle of the cochlear implant changed all that!

What is it like being Hard of Hearing?

The pandemic increased my sense of isolation, but not due to my hearing loss. Social media kept me in contact with family and friends. As our worlds start to open up, masks are still very frustrating because I can’t read lips!

Has the pandemic created more challenge as a Hard of Hearing person?

When I was experiencing hearing loss, even with hearing aids or my CI, I missed hearing words or phrases and would ask the speaker to repeat what he or she said. “0h never mind!” Urrrgh! My biggest pet peeve rears its ugly head! What you say to me is important and I value your thoughts. “Oh never mind” makes me feel like a nobody and your thoughts aren’t important to me.

What is your biggest pet peeve that people do to Hard of Hearing people?

People with hearing loss are human beings just like hearing folks. We have needs, desires, and want to be productive members of society, too. We just can’t hear like hearing folks. Please help us understand what you are saying and the world will be a happier place for everyone!

What would you like our readers to know about Hard of Hearing people?

People with hearing loss are human beings just like hearing folks. We have needs, desires, and want to be productive members of society, too. We just can’t hear like hearing folks. Please help us understand what you are saying and the world will be a happier place for everyone!