“I feel like a different person with Kallie”
Posted by Matt Sadler
When Naoimh, 31, started losing her hearing around six years ago, she felt like she was losing a part of herself. Her hearing loss, along with tinnitus, made her feel anxious, isolated, and lonely. Then hearing dog Kallie came into her life. Not only does Kallie alert Naoimh to important sounds, she does far more.
Naoimh tells her story in her own words:
“I was walking with my husband on a path by the beach and a cyclist came past from behind us and nearly clipped my arm. The shock made me jump. I felt angry that they hadn’t thought to use their bell to warn us they were coming. So when my husband asked me why I didn’t move out of the way when they rang their bell, I felt confused.
“Shortly after this, I noticed I could no longer hear the radio in the car, and I needed the subtitles on when watching TV. I went for a hearing test and this confirmed my worst fears.
“The most difficult thing for me to accept was that I had no control over my hearing loss – it was progressive and so would only get worse.
“It made me feel very vulnerable when I was home alone. Often my anxiety was so bad I couldn’t sleep and in turn this made my tinnitus worse. The tiredness and tinnitus affected my concentration in work. It was very stressful. I felt so sad and fearful knowing I would lose more and more of my hearing over time.
“My tinnitus became so bad at night that sometimes I’d even think it was the smoke alarm going off, the sounds were so similar. The reality was, I could no longer hear smoke alarms at all. The realisation of how deaf I’d become was terrifying.
“I lost all my confidence and self-esteem. It was like I’d lost a part of myself; I was no longer the person I should be. I often felt excluded from conversations as I couldn’t follow what was being said. I withdrew socially. It was a lonely time.
“Since having Kallie I feel that people talk to me more. I no longer feel isolated or lonely because she’s right there by my side.
“She has restored my confidence at work. I now feel able to tell my colleagues if I can’t hear in meetings, so I feel more included. When you have a hearing dog with you, they are a constant reminder to people that they need to face you so you can lipread them.
“Kallie also helps me to feel more confident when I’m out in public. She has helped me become more independent because I no longer feel vulnerable on my own. I don’t have to be as vigilant as I know Kallie is listening out for important sounds and will alert me to them.
“I feel like a different person with Kallie. She makes me smile and I feel so much happier – even when I’m alone. I sleep better too. But what I value most in having Kallie is that she enables me, and this has taken away my anxieties about becoming completely deaf.”
Kallie was a Hearing Dogs sponsor puppy, meaning that kind people sponsored her training journey and helped her to learn everything she needed to know to become a hearing dog.
Meet the pups in our Puppy Training Scheme
These cute puppies are training to become life-changers. Sponsor them from £3 a month and follow their journey as they learn how to help a deaf person.
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