Alberta Canada's newly-elected Premier, Alison Redford, has announced she’s seeking treatment for an escalating hearing problem.
Redford, 48, told reporters in Calgary her hearing began to deteriorate about 18 months ago, while she was running to become leader of the Progressive Conservative party, and her right ear is “nearly deaf.”
“People don’t like to think of themselves as getting old,” she said. “But nowadays, hearing aids are so advanced they’re not just for the elderly, per se. They’re for people who generally want to be able to communicate freely.”
“She’s, understandably, a little shaken by this and will now be undergoing further treatment as a result of yesterday’s appointment,” spokesman Stefan Baranski wrote in an e-mail to the Calgary Herald.
Redford said she was seeing a specialist in Calgary after trying for more than a year to get an appointment. She is being praised for speaking up about a subject that’s often considered “taboo.”
Ed Keller, president of EarQ, a network of hearing healthcare providers in the US, believes that while hearing loss is generally a self-identified issue, these types of high-profile acknowledgments could inspire people to get their hearing checked.
“We are impressed by Premier Redford stepping up to take control of her hearing health. Individuals in high-ranking leadership roles have the ability to empower many others to act. Just look at the positive social impact that the hearing aid fittings for Presidents Reagan and Clinton had here in the US.”
Under Canada's system of government, a premier is the head of government of a province or territory. There are currently ten provincial premiers and three territorial premiers in Canada.