I stumbled across this news article the other day.
To sum it up, a forth grader with a hearing disability saw a kindergartner wearing hearing aids, so he went up the kindergartner and introduced himself. The kindergartner was thrilled to meet another child with hearing aids.
The two boys have become friends, due to their shared experience. They are able to work together to teach other kids about their disability and how hearing aids work.
They can also help each other navigate through obstacles and pitfalls that occur when you have a hearing disability in childhood.
This article touched my heart, because I too have a hearing disability that started in early childhood. I wasn’t lucky enough to meet another hearing disabled child, so I often struggled alone.
Even as an adult, if I run into a young person with a hearing aid I feel an immediate connection. I want to talk to them about their experiences, how they handle certain situations, and how having a hearing disability has impacted their life.
Growing up with a hearing impairment is a unique experience and not something most people can understand. I am glad these boys found each other.
I finally got the outer processor for my BAHA (Bone Anchored Hearing Aid) implant this week. I am not really sure how I feel about it yet.
I am hearing better, which is great. However, it sounds a lot different from a typical hearing aid. I struggle to understand what people are saying, but I guess that will get better as I get used to the device.
The outer processor has a magnet, which attaches to the magnet under my skin, and sends the sound vibrations to the titanium screw in my skull, which then vibrates to send the sound directly to my inner ear. The two parts are working great together and putting on the outer piece is really simple. I just hold it up to my head, so the magnets can pull toward each other, and it pops into place.
The downside of the magnet system is the outer processor can be knocked off my head. It’s a delicate and expensive device, so dropping it is not recommended.
The audiologist did give me a clip with a plastic wire that can attach to the outer processor and then it can be clipped to my shirt. I am not a fan of this device. I feel like a preschooler, whose parents clipped stuff to their shirt to prevent them from losing it.
In about a week or so, I am going to write another blog post about the implant. By then I will be used to it, so some of these problems should be solved.
The documentary Sound and Fury discusses the pros and cons of cochlear implants in young children and infants.
Most hearing people believe children born deaf should receive cochlear implants as soon as possible and then raised as hearing children. That allows them to function in a hearing world.
It’s not so clear in the Deaf community, because they have their own language and unique culture. Cochlear implants are keeping children born deaf from learning that language, the history of the Deaf community, and the cultural beliefs that go along with it.
I understand both sides of the debate and I feel torn by the issue. I was born with inner-ear deformities that required numerous surgeries throughout my childhood and most of my adult life. I now have a moderate hearing loss and function well with hearing aids.
As an adult, I studied American Sign Language, Deaf history, and Deaf culture. I was fascinated by how the Deaf community interacts with each other and the importance they place on their language and culture.
Since I grew up in the hearing world, I will never truly be a part of the Deaf community. I wish I had a chance to be a part of that community. I long for the closeness and understanding felt among the members.
However, I am also glad to be a part of the hearing community. I know I will have more opportunities in this world, as a hearing person.
I hope the hearing community doesn’t allow cochlear implants to destroy Deaf culture. Maybe we can still teach children that are born deaf about their unique culture, even if they receive the cochlear implant as infants.
A few years ago, I was recovering from a severe respiratory infection, sinus infection, and ear infection. This cocktail of infection had also caused me to get laryngitis. I basically felt like I was dying.
For some reason, I had a craving for Chinese food. I drove down to a local Chinese restaurant and was trying to place an order. I couldn’t speak, so I was using hand jesters to communicate with the server.
To make things worse, the server had a very strong accent. I am hearing impaired, so the accent mixed wth my hearing impairment, which was made worse by an ear infection, made it extremely difficult to understand what he was saying.
I lady in the restaurant was watching all this and decided to help. She told the server, “I think she’s deaf.” The lady knew a little sign language and tried to communicate with me.
I am fluent in American Sign Language and I was getting frustrated with my whole situation, so I went with it. I pretended to be deaf and started signing to the lady. She then communicated what I said to the server and I was able to get my food.
I admit to feeling a bit ashamed of my actions that day. However, sometimes you just have a craving for Chinese food and you do what you got to do.
I was born with inner ear deformities, which caused me to suffer hearing loss at a young age. I started wearing hearing aids when I was twelve. I’ve had so many surgeries on my ears that I lost count years ago. The surgeries allowed me to maintain my hearing and help prevent the frequent ear infections I used to develop.
Tinnitus (ringing in the ears) is a result of my ear problems. Some people with tinnitus hear the noise all the time, but for me it comes and goes. Even as a small child I could hear the ringing and I don’t remember a time that the ringing was not a part of my life.
Most people with tinnitus are annoyed or irritated by the disorder. It affects their ability to sleep and causes disruptions in other areas of their life.
However, tinnitus doesn’t bother me at all. I guess I am just used to it. It is a normal part of my life. In fact when my ears start to ring, I find it easier to sleep or to concentrate. It drowns out the background noise.
Most people hate having to deal with tinnitus, but I actually enjoy it. I know that sounds crazy, but that is my personal perspective.
Have you ever experienced tinnitus? If so, how does it affect your life?