Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Hearing Coach, happy birthday to you! Woo!

Anniversaries can bring up a real mix of feelings.

On the one hand they are a great opportunity for us to celebrate. For example, I am super-proud that The Hearing Coach is 7 years old this month, and that I kept the service going even though I had to completely rethink how I operated thanks to the pandemic.

I’m proud too, of the many, many people I have helped to live greatly improved lives even with hearing loss, tinnitus, hyperacusis or misophonia. Their testimonials are testament to the impact The Hearing Coach has had.

There are anniversaries where we might feel ambivalent (I haven’t yet decided whether to celebrate or commiserate being 50 next month!).

And then there are the anniversaries where we struggle each time they come around. For my clients, these typically revolve around the date when they lost their hearing, or gained tinnitus, hyperacusis or misophonia. For me it’s a combination of both. In October 2005 I lost my hearing overnight in one ear and gained tinnitus and some hyperacusis. Although the hyperacusis eventually disappeared, the tinnitus didn’t, my hearing never returned.

Yet, I do kind of celebrate this anniversary.

After all, it was my 9-year struggle to find peace with my tinnitus that taught me dedication, resilience, and determination. I learned the hard way to research claims properly rather than leaping at every product or therapy that said it would cure my tinnitus. I found out that I needed to advocate my needs for myself – when you have an invisible condition like tinnitus, hyperacusis or misophonia even loved ones forget that you might be struggling. That, in turn, helped me to become more confident and assertive.

Those events in October 2005 also gave me the courage to pursue my passion in life and train to provide mindfulness training and cognitive therapy to clients with tinnitus, misophonia or hyperacusis. And because I have trained separately in these two disciplines, I have the flexibility to blend CBT and mindfulness as each client needs and wants.

Today I encourage you to raise a glass (or mug of coffee!) to celebrate The Hearing Coach’s 7th birthday. While you’re doing so, raise a glass to yourself too and celebrate how much you have learnt and grown thanks to these challenging conditions.

Here’s to us all in the tinnitus tribe. Cheers!