I'm still adjusting to returning home ... putting into perspective what we experienced ... and wondering if it's time to get a second opinion after almost forty years of being told that nothing could help.

Perhaps in that time advances have been made that could help me.

I'm referring to my hearing loss. Although, I'm not really sure how to refer to it - I mean, what is considered politically correct nowadays when talking about something like this? I've heard that 'deaf' or 'deafness' are terms that are not technically correct for me, even though I have very limited hearing in one ear. So if I'm using terms incorrectly, please forgive me (and correct me where appropriate).

The reality is that the loss of hearing in my left ear, due to meningitis as a two year old, has not particularly bothered me over the years. I'd learnt to live with it and with time had found ways to adapt. I have tended to avoid noisy social environments or else learnt to smile and nod and hope like crazy that I was doing it in the right places (i.e. not when someone was telling me of the tragic death of a relative or some bizarre crime or similar). Most of the time it's never been a big issue.

Until this recent trip. I was forever asking airline staff, customs officials, and anyone else I came in contact with, to repeat themselves. Worse still, no longer can I depend on DH to help me out in such situations because he also seems to be suffering from hearing loss after years of working in noisy environments.

It became rather embarrassing and something I began to dread. I wished I could wear a sign or there was something in my passport that marked me as different ... after all it's not obvious to anyone. (How do others manage this?)

The embarrassment and frustration eventually led me down this route where I'm wondering if there is perhaps something that could be done to help me now ... or have I left it too late ... or is it just another sign of aging ... and if there is something that could be done, would I ever get used to hearing aids?