Dear 16 year old Me: what I would tell my younger self about hearing loss



 Did you see the YouTube video clip “Dear 16 Year Old Me,”  about skin cancer awareness?  To date, it  has over 6,000  views. 

It makes people think: What would I tell my younger self?

The first thing that comes to mind for me is--don't worry about being taller than all the boys.

I would also tell her that someday, she will see hearing loss as an asset.  

Would I have considered audiology as a career without it?  Hard to say.  

Other decisions about work weren’t so smart. Like the time I worked as a waitress. Not an easy job when you have profound hearing loss. People aren’t all that patient when they are hungry! If I could spare her that pain, I would.

I would tell her about FM systems too. Somehow, I escaped the notice of the school district educational audiologist (or teacher of the deaf/hard of hearing) while growing up.  It wasn’t until I got to university that I discovered FM systems. 

I think, most of all though, I would tell her that a pro-active attitude is the best way to manage hearing loss.  It’s easiest to withdraw and fade into the background.  But often the easiest thing to do is not the best thing to do. 

She would not be happy to hear this, but at 47 years old, I am still learning. It’s a life-long process to successfully manage hearing loss. The rewards are great. Because communication is at the very heart of our connections to others.

What would you tell your 16-Year old self, about hearing loss or otherwise?

Sandra Vandenhoff is an audiologist with hearing loss, founder of HEARa, Hearing Strategies coach, speaker, and Canadian author, who is 6'2" tall.  


Thank you for sharing this post

Thank you for your line about a pro-active attitude and life long learning in regards to your hearing loss. My daughter has hearing loss, and I have typical hearing, so it is hard for me to know what messages will be important to her in regards to her hearing. But I think your messages are very helpful and positive. Thanks.

If you are interested in learning about groundbreaking work that is being done at Stanford University in regards to finding a cure for major forms of hearing loss, in this decade, please visit our website at

thank you

Thank you for your comment, Kate. And also for pointing out the Stanford website! Lots of good information there! ~Sandra

16 year old me

I would tell 16 year old me not to be so concerned about covering my hearing aid with my hair and to be courageous so young people coming behind me would benefit from my stand that having a hearing loss is not something to be ashamed about.