Mending relationships through hearing treatment

Hearing loss has a large impact on a relationship. Just ask Iolanda Canzona. Over the last few years, Iolanda knew her 85-year-old husband, Amato, had hearing problems.

“Sometimes I just didn’t want to start a conversation because I had to keep repeating myself,” says Iolanda, who is 76. “He was missing out on a lot. For example, when we went to a restaurant, I had to tell the waiter his order since he couldn’t hear the question.” And Iolanda found that she was more upset about his hearing than he was.

Two years ago, they sought help for Amato’s hearing loss, but their negative experience put them off from dealing with his condition.

Luckily, the couple was introduced to the Toronto HEARS program, the first Canadian community-based, low-cost, hearing rehabilitation program of its kind led by Baycrest’s Hearing Services, during their regular visits to the Driftwood Community Centre.

Through Toronto HEARS, supported by the Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation, Iolanda and Amato were able to get their hearing assessed. Amato was able to test a hearing device and they learned how to better communicate with each other.

“I learned to be more aware of how I talk to Amato, to be patient and I always try to face him when I’m speaking,” says Iolanda. “I realized that it’s not his fault he can’t hear me, it’s a hearing problem. Both the person with the hearing loss and the people they communicate with have to be educated about strategies to deal with the problem.”

Amato is happy with the device, and he is better able to hear with it, says Iolanda.

Baycrest is an academic health sciences centre fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.

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