Affirmations, those positive statements I chant to myself, are one of my secret pleasures. For several years, my affirmations have included not only my goals—”I practice the piano once a day,” for example—but also statements about my health. A body of experts believe that delivering positive messages to the body can enhance health, including hearing health.
Nonetheless, I recently realized that while my affirmations list includes sinuses, heart, and skin, one of my biggest health issues, my hearing loss, is missing. Perhaps I was silent about my loss because going deaf is one of my inner terrors. So I cajoled myself to create a list of affirmations for hearing health.
I should add that I personally don’t view hearing health affirmations, or any affirmations for that matter, as a replacement for traditional medicine. I still have an otolaryngologist that I see twice a year, and an audiologist whom I try to visit whenever my hearing aids need reprogramming. Nor do I believe that others with hearing loss would simply be cured if they stated affirmations. I simply consider these affirmations as part of the best solution I can provide myself for hearing health.
I try to state my affirmations whenever I’m on a walk. I still find this new set on hearing health difficult to utter: oftentimes when I make these declarations, my my lips feel numb and thick, most likely because I am reversing a decades-long habit of not thinking about my hearing loss at all. Nonetheless, these affirmations for hearing health exude hopefulness:
My ability to hear is stable, even improving.
The fear that haunts me, often late at night when fatigue allows those submerged worries to flare, is that someday I may not be able to hear at all. It’s no secret that as people age, often their hearing worsens. For those of us with hearing loss—I have a high-frequency hearing loss—layering additional loss from old age on top of an existing deficit is frightening. This affirmation for hearing health has the benefit of comforting myself that I will not necessarily be deaf by the time I turn 70.
I hear across a wide range of frequencies, from the lowest note in the bass to the highest note in the treble.
Of course the sounds I most cherish in life are my husband’s and children’s voices, and a close second to that is the piano. I want my body to understand that conversational frequencies are not enough. In order to pursue my passion for classical piano music, I want to hear the piano’s full, luscious range.
The hair cells in my left and right cochleas are flourishing and healthy.
For this affirmation, I rely on some inside knowledge: I’m on the Board of the Hearing Health Foundation, a nonprofit which is funding research labs at top universities across the country to find a cure for hearing loss. Gifted scientists like Andy Groves have explained to me that hearing loss occurs when those tiny hair cells in the cochlea die off. With this affirmation, I send a message directly to my inner ears that I expect those hair cells to be around for the long haul.
I have the right to listen and hear.
During my childhood, my mother was very good at encouraging me to ask for accommodations so I could hear. As a result, in concert halls, classrooms, and churches, I sit in the front row, even if I look like a nerd. Although these days my relationship with my mother is very complicated, I want to affirm for my hearing health what she taught me, that I have the right to hear.
I hear because I am a mother, a wife, a writer, an editor, a pianist.
I use this hearing health affirmation to round off the set. I like to cite out loud how my ability to hear is so intimately tied to the most important parts of my identity. I hope that my body, especially those tiny hair cells inside of my cochlea, will have no choice but to flourish.