Thursday, August 19, 2010

How I lost my hearing




It's natural for humans to be curious and I've never been offended by someone asking me how I came to lose my hearing. In fact I love to talk, I talk too much, that it gets me into trouble sometimes but, I digress...I was not born deaf, but it does run in the family on my mother's side, most of her family wear hearing aids. However only my mother, myself and my sister lost our hearing when we were children. I have two brothers in their thirties who have not been affected at all and we have a theory for that...it seems to only happen to the O blood types, my brothers are blood type A like my Dad. My mother and her family are blood type O as I and my sister are...pretty interesting isn't it?

Because I was not born deaf, I learned to talk well as a baby, my paternal Grandmother used to tell me I would imitate the roosters that crowed in the morning. When I was two, I came down with Rosiola and developed a high fever that went above 106 degrees, I was taken to the hospital and put in a tub and flushed with alcohol. They were able to get my fever down thankfully, but my audiologists feel this incident caused me to lose my hearing at a very young age (my mother and sister were around the age of 11 when they lost theirs).  I was four years old when my parents noticed that while talking to me when my back was turned, I would not hear them. They finally took me to have my hearing tested and I was found to have profound hearing loss and would need the help of a hearing aid. Now 35 years ago technology was not as it is today, unfortunately the hearing aid was not well fitted and I was only four years old, I didn't know any better. I ended up losing even more hearing because of that. It is at this time that I naturally learned how to read lips, from just watching people's lips as they talked.

There were times when I was not very happy with my parents decision to send me to public school. It was challenging sometimes to say the least, but I made many memories...good and bad...made many friends who helped support me and get me through the tough times. I had some wonderful teachers who went out of their way to give me a little extra attention and of course some who felt I should be treated as any other student, because life isn't fair and you have to either sink or swim.

With the help of a hearing aid, I can hear almost normal, however I am very reliant on the lip reading, my comprehension without it is terrible. I've had many people ask if I know sign language, but I don't, I would love to learn though. I am delighted that technology is making life a little easier for deaf people, we have closed captioning, subtitles for movies, texting features on our cell phones...it all helps tremendously!

 I'm thankful for all the experiences that I've had in life, it has shaped me into who I am today...a good person ( I hope). I am happy, I have a wonderful life and I don't have any regrets!

3 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing your story Stephanie. And you are right, today there is so much available to the deaf community, it sure makes life easier.

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  2. Good thing that you're using hearing aids. Well, your story is very inspiring, with the fact that you are fighting everyday not only for yourself but also for your loved ones. That's a great trait to have! As I may say, you are a living inspiration for people who are facing the same circumstances and challenges in life. Cheers to you, Steph! :)

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  3. Thank you so much for those kind words Serena, it sure made my day! :)

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