Challenges Being Hearing Impaired

Imagine waking up and not being able to hear absolutely nothing; everything sounds muffled. Your ears feel as though they are plugged from being on an airplane. You try to yawn to pop them, but yawning doesn’t work. Your love ones actually yelling at you for no apparent reason, and you’re wondering why? This happen to me in 2008. I was 35, and just had my youngest daughter a couple of months prior.

It was an unexplainable situation. The doctors told me I had an ear infection. They gave me amoxicillin to take for 10 days. After I finish taking it that, I still couldn’t hear. They prescribed me Sudafed 120 mg. After taking those for a week, still couldn’t hear. They couldn’t figure out what was going on with me.

Finally, they sent me to an audiologist and they told me I was losing my hearing. She tried to insure me that it was no big deal and hearing aids will help.

The type of hearing loss I have is called Cookie-bite hearing loss. It’s less common than other types of hearing loss. Cookie-bite hearing loss is a type of sensorineural hearing loss—that means it’s due to an impairment in the cochlea or auditory nerve and not caused by fluid or earwax.

Once you develop sensorineural hearing loss, you have it for the rest of your life. It can be mild, moderate, severe or profound. I have profound hearing loss. If you have profound hearing loss, you won’t hear most everyday sounds without amplification, just loud sounds but not someone calling you from behind. This is what was difficult for my family and friends to understand even with wearing hearing aids.

But I’ve found over the years, once I received my hearing aids, people judge me and told me that I was disrespectful, I was rude, or I was ignoring them when they were talking. Not knowing that even still having the hearing aids in my ear that, a person would have to be in my face; facing me in order for me to really hear. And that just because I have the hearing aids, you can whisper anything to me now, because you think that they’ll help me to hear your whisper. Struggling with family not understanding was hard, I went into a state of depression. I didn’t know what to do. All I knew that I hated wearing hearing aids for somebody who was not born death, and able to hear when I was born.

I loss my hearing at the age of 35. It was very traumatic and devastating. I stop going to seminars; I isolated myself. I didn’t want to be around people because half of the time, because I didn’t know what they were saying or what the conversation was about. I even stayed away from a lot of family functions, because they would get so impatient and when they spoke to me, they would yell or say things like, “I don’t like repeating myself, so you know, if you can’t hear…” just being very inconsiderate of my disability.

When the pandemic hit in 2020. That was another devastating thing because we all had to wear mask. And it was very hard for me to communicate, because people were talking and but their mouths were cover. So I couldn’t read their lips. Before if I couldn’t hear what they said, I could read their lips and get the gist of what they were saying. So, that was another very challenging time.

I’ve learned as someone with a disability, how people in the society and in our nation, how impatient they are when it comes to people with disabilities. I would have never guessed that even working in the health care field, I never really experienced how significant the inpatient of people in America has been. So I have learned that even in the midst of everything that I’m going through, that everyone will not be considerate of your disability.

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