That time when I learnt about the importance of hearing – An article by Ruth Penfold, VP, People at Onfido
We feel so touched by this post by Ruth Penfold, VP of People at Onfido and the daughter of Mr Penfold, a wonderful gentleman that we have the pleasure of looking after. We just had to share.
That time when I learnt about the importance of hearing
If I consider some of the most important things I’ve learnt along the way, many of those things have come in the form of people; of friends who pop up and teach me something special that enables the growth needed to level up to wherever I am going next.
Cynics will say it is just coincidence, haters will say I’m drunk off the joy of life (I am), but for me, I know there’s magic to be found in those moments.
One of those moments happened to me recently.
Through my deepening connection to myself via meditation, I found myself becoming part of a project a couple of years ago called Just Breathe – an organisation that creates mass meditation experiences that bring meditation to a wider audience.
Through this group, I met with Jerusha and Adam Shulberg, who are are the owners of an awesome Audiology practice in Marylebone called Cubex.
At that time, I’d paid very little mind to cognitive health. My interest and commitment to meditation was an abundantly personal one; one that was borne out of the need to create calm in my world, to find a way to be peaceful with myself and to stop my emotional pendulum swinging quite so broad and wide.
Jerusha and Adam had become part of the project partly due to their own experiences with meditation but largely due to their extensive knowledge and research into the link between meditation and cognitive health. Put simply; meditation elicits a relaxation response, which reverses the effects of stress in our brains. This allows the space for new neural network connections to unfurl and our brains to become healthier.
In the world we live in, our brains are continuously exhausted and depleted by trying to make sense of the noise around us. It is up to us to become aware of the impact that our neural network killing way of living has on our cognitive health and what our current health report looks like so that we can make the changes needed to make it better.
Cubex were incredibly generous and hosted many of the project’s volunteers for cognitive health checks, and through that experience, I became more aware of the importance of preserving cognitive wellbeing, and how hearing loss can drastically impact the lives of those suffering from it.
Whilst interesting, this new data merely reaffirmed the path I had chosen to walk along, and I merrily continued with my daily meditation and stillness work.
A few months later I became aware that one of my parents was starting to behave in just the way that I had learnt might be possible: the quiet withdrawal of oneself from social situations and conversations.
You see; our brains can only handle a certain amount of cognitive load, and with hearing loss what happens is that our brains have to work extra hard to make sense of the sounds around us.
Hearing is actually a brain process (thank you Cubex), without the brain we only have a series of unfathomable sounds. Those suffering from hearing loss, therefore, start to become exhausted by trying to make sense of the world around them and for the most part may not even be aware of what is happening until it is too late. The less we interact, the faster our brains deteriorate and the more likely we are to experience things like dementia.
Even if a person is aware of what is happening this can be something that is incredibly hard to face. It takes real bravery to seek help, and even when you do, it’s hard to find access to the right kind of advice. My parent was aware of what had been happening and had sought medical help, but the solution offered was something that made the sound quality worse rather than better; so hearing became an even more painful experience.
Happily, the Universe had our backs. I could see the signs I’d been learning about, and could see the current solution was having a negative impact, so reached out to Jerusha and Adam and they were delighted to arrange to spend some time assessing both my parents to see what kind of support they might need.
Because of their open hearts and informal style, the Cubex team were able to provide exactly the right kind of thoughtful but comprehensive hearing support and advice that was needed.
Today my parent is the proud owner of a state of the art hearing aid. They also laugh more, they tell more bad jokes, they interject into more conversations and we couldn’t be more delighted. The change is quite simply life changing.
If you recognise any of the signs I describe here, either for yourself or for anyone in your world, please reach out and I’d be delighted to connect you to Jerusha, Adam and their brilliant team.
Cubex: I am forever in your debt and am eternally grateful for the work you do with both individuals and businesses to bring awareness to cognitive wellbeing.