From: Canyon Country, California
Nominated By: Audiology Associates in Santa Clarita, CA
“When we moved to California in 1957, I was 10 years old,” said Jim. “I was enrolled at O’Melveny Elementary School in San Fernando. The teacher told my mom that there was something wrong with my hearing. After several examinations, I was fitted for a hearing aid. Then, I was sent off to the Mary E. Bennett School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Los Angeles, CA. After that, I graduated from elementary and went to Birmingham Junior & High School in the San Fernando Valley, where I was enrolled in special education classes and where they began to mainstream us into regular classes when we were able.”
“I graduated from Birmingham High in 1966 and, being determined to socialize and work in mainstream society, I put my hearing aids in the drawer. I worked in restaurants for a time and later was able to fudge my way into the U.S. Navy. After serving 4 ½ years, mostly in Vietnam combat areas, I came home in 1973 to restart civilian life. A while after my discharge, I started to attend community college under the G.I. Bill, and one of my counselors noticed that I had a speech impediment and here we go again. Many exams later, I found myself with a pair of behind-the-ear hearing aids. I have been wearing hearing aids ever since.”
Ultimately, much of Jim’s decision to utilize hearing devices again was to reconnect to his family.
“I wanted a better quality of life, to be able to hear my wife speak to me and to understand our children. I wanted to participate and communicate in a variety of settings, both social and in the volunteer area. When I was actually diagnosed with progressive peripheral vision loss (RP)/Ushers II in 1983, it was so important to address my hearing loss to help me in the areas I could no longer see. And over the years, the quality of hearing aids has become so much better. I can hear things now that I never dreamed of. I also have discovered that I simply cannot get along without them.”
“I have been able to listen to and understand more thereby living as normal a life as possible despite my vision and hearing loss. I was able to continue working and retire from the city of L.A., I have been able to volunteer with numerous organizations, both veteran and community, making a real difference in many peoples’ lives, and educating the public about people with (personal challenges). My wife and I camp, bike, hike, enter parades and attend concerts. With the help of my FM transmitter creating a loop, I am even able to enjoy a family dinner and join in the table conversation at a noisy restaurant or setting the transmitter on the speaker table at a meeting or conference. In order to make the best use of my guide dog, I need to hear traffic pattern flows and surrounding sounds. My hearing devices enable me to be more independent!”
Jim Hogan has been selected by the Deptartment of Veterans Affairs Voluntary Service National Advisory Committee to receive the 2014 National Advisory Committee Male Volunteer of the Year Award at a celebration in Albuquerque, NM on April 23.
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