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Offered by: John Wilson, B.S., BC-HIS – Blue Ribbon Hearing & Tinnitus Center

On my grandfather’s eighth birthday, November 11, 1918, the end of World War I commenced as the allied forces signed a ceasefire agreement with Germany. (The war did not officially end until the Treaty of Versailles was signed the following year.) That date later served as a holiday known as Armistice Day for many years in the United States and is still celebrated in European countries. Following World War II, Armistice Day become Veteran’s Day in the United States and was created to celebrate all veterans. For a time, the date for the celebration was changed to the 4th Monday in October, but was changed back to its original date of November 11th in 1978 and has been celebrated since then.

Both of my grandfathers and both of my wife’s grandfathers were veterans who served in different capacities during WWII. Their lives and service have had a lasting impact on our family. As I have written previously, my wife’s grandfather lost a leg stepping on a landmine at Normandy following the D-Day invasion. This led to a lifetime of adaptation for him as he worked to provide for his family while wearing numerous different prosthetic legs. Due in part to the crudeness and imperfect fit of the devices, these adaptations led to other physical problems that plagued him the rest of his life.

In 1620, a group of settlers looking for a place to be free to worship and live their beliefs traveled to the New World.  These people, later known as pilgrims, had to adapt to a completely different environment, devoid of the familiar surroundings of England. They had to become acquainted with new foods and had to learn new methods to grow unfamiliar crops. Their success, due entirely to the kindness of the natives who taught them how to farm and survive in the new land, led to a feast and celebration of thanks that is historically recognized as the first thanksgiving.

Adaptation is a wonderful thing we as humans often do to overcome different challenges. Individuals with hearing loss and tinnitus often find ways to deal with it, such as turning up the TV louder, asking people to repeat, and so forth. Unfortunately, these adaptations do little to address the root of imperfect hearing. As such, these adaptations increase the likelihood of problems later in life, such as dementia. This is one reason it is recommended to treat hearing loss as soon as possible. Thankfully, we have moved past the crude hearing devices of the past, and with today’s advanced hearing aid technology, we can more effectively treat hearing loss and tinnitus.

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