Contributed by Debbie Clason, staff writer, Healthy Hearing
Honduras native Kevin Delcid believes there’s nothing more beautiful in life than being able to hear. He should know. He lost most of his hearing as a small child after a case of the mumps, then found it again as a young adult living in the United States thanks to new technology and expert hearing care. Today, as the father of a young son, he is a strong advocate for hearing aids.
Kevin said he lost 75 percent of his hearing in a two week period after his mumps diagnosis. He was only 6 years old. His hearing loss was detected by a teacher when he returned to school. “I didn’t notice anything unusual — except that people were talking to me and I couldn’t hear them,” he remembers.
Kevin said Honduras is a small, poor country in Central America where healthcare is hard to find, especially doctors who specialize in hearing loss. That meant he had to do the best he could — at home as well as at school.
“Kids can be heartless,” he said. “They called me names like deaf and dumb. I had to endure so much that just remembering makes my heart melt. I suffered too much. I cried too much. Sometimes the pain in my ear was unbearable. I spent countless nights crying and complaining.”
When Kevin was 14, his family moved to the United States. The teachers at school sent the family to Clarity, a nonprofit agency in Greenville, South Carolina which provides speech and language, audiology, and psychology and learning assessment and treatment to people of all ages. His evaluation determined he was deaf in one ear, with severe to profound hearing loss in the other.
“They made me take a hearing test, and eventually my dad purchased a hearing aid. He had to pay cash because we didn’t have any insurance,” he said.
“I didn’t remember what it is to hear a bird singing or the bell at lunchtime,” he said. “I didn’t like music because I could hear the sounds and people talking, but I could not understand a single word. When there was a song I liked, my mother would sit right next to me and play the song over and over, writing the lyrics on a piece of paper so I could understand what they were saying.”
A world of new sounds
Ten years later as a young adult and father of a baby boy, Kevin decided he needed to have his hearing re-evaluated. By that time he was no longer wearing the hearing aid he received when he was a teenager. “What really made me decide I needed a new hearing aid was not being able to hear my son talk to me from the back seat of the car. I was missing all of those beautiful sounds he was making. I was missing out on my son calling me ‘daddy.’ I was missing out on him singing his favorite Mickey Mouse song.”
That motivation led him to the office of Dr. Tara Bailey, founder of Advanced Hearing Solutions of Greenville. Dr. Bailey fit Kevin with a new digital BTE hearing aid. The device not only helps him communicate with his son, but it is compatible with his iPhone 7 and Bluetooth, which greatly improves his ability to carry on phone conversations.
Dr. Bailey said immediately after she fit Kevin with the hearing aid, he sat clicking the side clip on a pen. When Dr. Bailey and Kevin’s wife asked him what he was doing, he smiled and told them he couldn’t remember the last time he’d heard that sound.
“Kevin was very sensitive to sound so I had to work closely with him to modify his settings,” she said. “He’s currently doing very well.”
Kevin admits he struggled a bit after receiving his new hearing aid. “The hardest part was getting used to so many sounds coming at me at the same time,” he said. “Some of the sounds were really annoying because my brain had forgotten them since it hadn’t heard them in 18 years.” And, even though he can hear, he says he still feels the need to lip read. “I’m working on trying to sharpen my hearing so I don’t have to do that anymore,” he said.
“Now I put my hearing aids on the moment I wake up and go straight to my baby’s room to hear him say, ‘Hola, papa!’” Kevin said, happily. “When I’m driving, I can be talking with him at the same time. I can be counting and singing his songs because I can hear him now.”
“That little man is my everything, he is my life, and there’s nothing I won’t do to make him happy.”
Today Kevin works the B shift at the BMW plant in Greenville, South Carolina’s Spartanburg county and has some advice for others who are struggling with hearing loss.
“My advice to others is to get a hearing aid,” he said. “They don’t know what changes it can bring to their daily lives. I’m pretty sure if they try them, they’ll be happy they did. There is nothing in this life more beautiful than hearing. I’m glad I took that step, and I’m looking forward to getting the most out of it.”
If you need help with your hearing, take Kevin’s advice and get it. Visit our directory to find a hearing care professional near you.