Imagine waking up to silence, or to the faint sounds of your alarm clock going off. Now, imagine turning on some small technology and suddenly you can hear everything. You go about your day, talk with people you know, and listen to some music or the television. Turn off that piece of technology and you go to sleep in silence. That scenario is pretty much my daily life.
I am Hard-of-Hearing. I was born with a birth defect which caused my conductive hearing loss. To those of you who don’t know what the difference between just being deaf and what I have read the wiki article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conductive_hearing_loss. There are two bones, in each of my ears, that are not fully connected and could be fixed at any moment. But, I don’t want to talk about that right now.
When I was born, my parents did not know I was partially deaf. I was still able to hear certain sounds but it was hard for me to make out what they were. My mother told me she thought I had a behavioral problem and I just wasn’t listening to them. I was able to communicate verbally to my parents and my sister, but some of my words sounded made up. No one really thought anything of it, thinking that I was just a silly little girl. The day that everything changed was when I was going to be enrolled into kindergarten. They ran tests on the children to see if everything was running okay. That was the day my parents found out that I was Hard-of-Hearing. My mother says she still feels guilty (to this day) about yelling at me when I was a child. She thought I was being stubborn, when in reality I never heard her.
When they received the information that I was Hard-of-Hearing, my pediatric nurse recommended my parents to meet with an audiologist and see if it was possible to get me hearing aids. She felt that since I was still able to hear some sounds, it would help me hear all the sounds. They took me to an audiologist, I had to take more tests, and they tested out a hearing aid on me. I don’t remember any of this, but my mom said the minute they placed the hearing aids in my ear my eyes widen with curiosity. I could fully hear for the first time. It was then, that they took them out of my ears and said I could have a better life if they paid 5,000 dollars total for both hearing aids. Needless to say, my parents and a few family friends helped raise the money so I could get my “ears”.
I’m grateful for everyone that helped me receive my first hearing aids. Since I was able to hear, my parents decided to not teach me sign language, because I was perfectly able to communicate orally. I did take two years in speech therapy in my elementary school days. As I got older, my hearing aids felt second nature to me, and I adapted to life. I adapted so much, that even my friends forgot I had them.
I am lucky today, that I have found a man that truly loves me for who I am, and isn’t scared of my hearing loss. When I was growing up, I thought I would be alone for the rest of my life. I thought no one was going to love a girl that can’t hear half of the time. My fears were taken away when I met my boyfriend. He understands that in the morning he has to wait until I put on my aids to tell me good morning, and I love you. Sometimes he forgets, but we’re all human.
There are times when I wonder what life would be like if I got surgery and connected the two little bones in my ears. I have become so accustomed to my hearing aids, I call them my ears, even my boyfriend calls them my ears. I don’t know if I’ll ever get the chance to have surgery, and I don’t know if I’ll snatch up that opportunity if I do. But, I do know that I have friends and family that love me for who I am, and I should never change.