Martin Jurek, Campbell River Hearing Clinic
years ago I received a wake-up call. I was feeling lethargic, I was
consumed by stress and the buckle of my favourite belt was stretching
menacingly at the last hole. Though my doctor told me there was nothing
wrong per se, it was obvious where I was heading if I didn’t start
getting some regular exercise.
At around the same time, a fellow
named Jeremy was helping us build our new website for Campbell River
Hearing Clinic. As I got to know him, he told me all about his newfound
passion for mountain biking, which got me thinking that, hey, I used to
like biking too, didn’t I?
Sensing the perfect opportunity for
some fun exercise, I procured an invite to Jeremy’s Monday night ride –
he even offered to lend me a pair of his fancy mountain bike shoes. I
was ready to shred some trails!
My enthusiasm quickly waned when I
showed up at the Trask Road parking lot to discover a dozen fully
geared riders with hydration packs, body armour and full-suspension
bikes that were to my 15-year-old mountain bike what a Hummer is to
Ford’s original Model T.
James and his wife Chenoa, the owners of
Swicked Cycles and the leaders of this weekly ride, asked me (with a
straight face) if I’d be joining the fast group or the “fun” (read:
slow) group. Despite my unfounded confidence, I opted for the fun one so
as not to appear arrogant.
Twenty minutes later I was grinding
alone up a rooty, forested singletrack trail, the rest of the “fun”
group having disappeared well ahead of me, apparently having
considerably more fun than I. They were, however, considerate enough to
wait for me at each trail intersection, much to the relief of my
reading this in eager anticipation of the tie-in with hearing aids,
you’re not alone. Hearing aids are, after all, one of the most exciting
topics one could imagine reading about. Don’t worry, I’ll get there soon
. . .
Throughout the ride I was bounced by rocks, tossed by roots
and I even took a dramatic somersault over the handlebars (thankfully I
was so far behind the pack that no one noticed). And yet . . . I was
hooked! I ached for days, but I couldn’t wait to do it again. It wasn’t
just the riding, it was also the camaraderie with a group of kindred
spirits who encouraged me to never stop trying and who didn’t mind
waiting for me to catch up.
Not long after that first ride, James
at Swicked Cycles hooked me up with a new bike and a bunch of fancy
gear. I now ride every week. I no longer have to think about every rock
or root, I simply scan the trail ahead and my brain automatically knows
what to do. I’m fitter, stronger and have much quicker reflexes. I’ve
gone down three belt holes, my blood pressure couldn’t be better and I
feel more satisfied and relaxed in every area of my life. I’m proud to
say that I can even keep up with the fast group. Well, almost.
And here it is . . .
did it take for me to become a decent mountain biker? Motivation for
one; I needed that wake-up call from my doctor to convince me to take
action to improve my life. I needed to remember how much I used to enjoy
biking, and how much better I used to feel in all kinds of ways. I also
needed the motivation from fellow riders, who encouraged me to “suck it
up” no matter how steep the hill or gnarly the trail.
needed the right equipment and someone to help me make the most of it.
James at Swicked helped me pick the right bike for my size and riding
style, and he’s been there for me whenever I need adjustments, repairs
or expert advice. If something doesn't feel 100% right with my bike, I
take it to James and know that it will be taken care of.
And that’s how mountain bikes are just like hearing aids.
Just as I needed the motivation to take up biking, you need the proper
motivation to do something about the fact that your hearing may not be
as sharp as it once was. You need the encouragement of loved ones, and
you need to remember how much more enjoyable social gatherings were, and
how much happier and more relaxed you used to feel.
This part is key
hearing loss creeps up so slowly, sometimes it’s difficult to notice it
on your own – you need to take cues from those around you and think
about the way difficult listening situations – like noisy restaurants –
make you feel. The extra energy needed to follow a conversation with
reduced hearing sensitivity can quickly leave you tired, irritable and
utterly averse to social outings. Don’t let hearing loss turn you into a
Finally, just as I need James to help me get the best of
my bike, I will help you choose the right equipment, fine-tune it to
your precise specifications and always be there to provide tweaks or
Just as I gradually became a better mountain biker,
so will you grow accustomed to your improved hearing, until one day
you’ll realize that you no longer have to concentrate on listening; your
brain will filter out distractions automatically and you will simply
understand – clearly and effortlessly.
If this article is your
wake-up call, Jana and I will be happy to provide you with a
complimentary hearing assessment. If not, we’re here for you if and when
you decide to take the step toward better hearing and a better life.