October 23 2012
Click the player to hear from Jenny and Megan Riesenberg, a mother and daughter who both struggle with hearing loss. They're taking sign language classes together at the Center for Communication, Hearing & Deafness.
When you turn on the radio, you hear music. You don't have think about it, and you probably don't have to strain to listen.
Hearing just happens.
The ability to hear is a gift many of us take for granted. But imagine if that routine part of daily life slowly started to diminish. As the years go by, the sounds of the city become less and less vibrant, the volume on TV gets louder and louder, and it takes more and more effort to keep up with group conversation.
For too many people, that's when life starts to unravel.
"A lot of isolation can happen if people are dealing with hearing loss, and that's always the saddest thing," said Kerry Malak, communications director at the Center for Communication, Hearing & Deafness. "People tend to withdraw."
But it doesn't have to be that way. At its West Allis office, the non-profit provides year-round support to people with all levels of hearing loss.
"That's what we really try to encourage -- that people's relationships with other people aren't diminished by hearing loss," Malak said. "People can still enjoy those relationships."
Classes in sign language and lip reading, routine hearing tests, and cochlear implant assessments are just some of the services the center offers. And you don't have to be experiencing hearing loss to participate.
"We have a lot of people who are just curious. They just want to learn sign language for fun, or they have a friend or family member that signs who they want to communicate with," Malak said.
If you'd like to connect with Center for Communication, Hearing & Deafness, call (414) 604-2200 or visit its official website. Counselors are on hand to answer any questions, and the center partners with dozens of local agencies supporting people with hearing loss.