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Get off the fence, get a hearing test. That’s what Ric Woods wants everyone who thinks they may have hearing loss to know. Thanks to the National Campaign for Better Hearing’s Give-Back Program, Ric Woods was awarded a pair of brand new hearing aids after being nominated by Hearing Aid Practitioner Shirley Monk from ListenUP! Canada in Waterloo. For every free hearing test taken, the campaign sponsors donate $4.00 towards the purchase of aids for those who really need them. The day Ric received this award was a day of unbelievable relief for him. Here is his story:

“This award has already and will continue to make a difference in my life.

“I am a person with a physical disability in a wheelchair, but this has never stopped me from getting an education. I have a Bachelors in Computer Science, a Masters in Social Work, and took doctoral studies in Social Service Planning.  I have served on a number of boards in my community and I am active in a number of community and church groups.

“However, my disability has hindered me from obtaining viable employment or self-employment. At the age of 65, all ODSP, living expenses and benefits cease. The living expenses are taken over by the Canada Old Age Security, (OAS), Canada Guarantee Income Supplement, (GIS), and Canada Pension Plan, (CPP) with no additional benefits.  The living expenses are moderately better but other expenses are higher, leaving no savings for retirement.

“I attempted to raise private funds for my hearing aids, but it was obvious this was going to be very slow and probably not successful.

“The day I heard I had received the award was a day of unbelievable relief, a new lease on life.  After about a day, the realization that the seemingly impossible became not only possible but actual, defied words.

“I will never forget the day when I got my new hearing aids. I knew a whole new life was beginning and so it has!  It was great to hear people talking so clearly. I was laughing and crying at the same time.  On the way home, I stopped and sat there listening to the rustling leaves and a little later to children laughing in the park. I had to stop and thank God for yet another miracle made possible by the generosity of the Campaign for Better Hearing.

“The greatest moment was later that night when a close friend dropped in, offering a couple of his “loving” insults, replied to my “I heard that” with “oh yes, I can’t make those comments any more”, then turned to me and said, “welcome back, buddy.”

“The hardest thing about having hearing loss is the effect it has on my communications. Communication is central to my life.  With my hearing loss, I began to feel alone and emotionally and physically withdrawn from social events.  One of my initial reactions to my hearing loss was a sense of overwhelming fatigue and loss of energy. I learned that was due to me trying to listen to people.

“Just know that hearing loss does NOT mean a communication loss. There are lots of equipment and techniques to prevent lost communications. Hearing is a family affair: everyone around you is involved. Get your hearing checked for them!”

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