Why, yes, I'm deaf. Do you have a problem with that?

Lower-case deaf, not the upper-case Deaf, since the latter is more suited to describe the Deaf culture, while the former describes a physical condition. To be more specific, I am hard-of-hearing. Or more specifically, I'm profoundly deaf, which further along the "deaf scale" than severe, moderate, and mild deafness. Only complete deafness is further along the scale than profoundly deaf. But don't ask me what the threshold levels are for each level--I don't know right off the top of my head.

I have a cochlear implant in my left ear, and a hearing aid in my right. When I wear my hair down, which is most of the time, people can't tell I'm deaf. Only people who are really experienced with deaf people can tell by my slightest accent, most others don't notice it, or ask me if I'm from England or Germany, which I think is fantastic. I've always liked the English accent, particularly. My favorite is when people say, "Oh, you have such a cute accent! What country are you from?" "Er....Colorado?" "Oh!........oh..." I love that it takes them a few seconds to figure out that Colorado is actually not a country.

I have a little brother who is deaf, too. Only moderately so, so if he has his hearing aids out, you can talk really loudly and he'd be able to hear you okayish. That's Tom, by the way, in case you were wondering. Before he was born and found to be deaf, I'd always wondered if I was adopted because nobody else in my extended family was deaf. If it weren't for pictures of my rather tired-looking mom in her hospital gown and with tubes snaking out of her hand holding me, I would have believed that I was adopted with more intensity.

Most people I talk to are quite accepting and flexible concerning my deafness, and that's largely an account of how well I hear. Or how well I can fake hearing. I try to avoid talking on the phone as much as possible. It's so awkward, because I can't read lips, but I do great in face-to-face situations, but I'm slowly working on that phobia/difficulty of mine.

My parents did good with my deafness. I wasn't diagnosed until I was 2 years old, and when the first audiologist said I'd never learn to read, speak, hear, or amount to anything at all, my parents effectively said, "Screw you" and took me to another audiologist. My parents were rather poor at the time, so they applied with some charity to seek help paying for my first hearing aids, and the charity said the same thing about me. So, they got a loan and bought me one anyway. These were huge adult-sized hearing aids attached to a processor box on a belt or a harness by some long wires. They somehow got some sort of funding or grant to give me 6 months of speech therapy, in which my mom asked them to teach her how to continue giving me therapy, and she did keep practicing with me with every waking hour of mine. With that, I gained 2 years of speaking/vocabulary skills in those 6 months.

My dad said he worked many hours at many jobs to get me my hearing aids. He said so every time he raged at me because I was, according to him, a spoiled brat. If I forgot to take out the recycling, then I was a spoiled lazy brat too big for her britches, and I should be able to take out the recycling when he nearly died of pneumonia working three jobs to pay for my hearing aids.

Honestly--that hurt. Every single time. I think that contributes to why I feel extremely guilty every time I need to buy something for myself. "Oh no, I'm too expensive," when I'm buying a $20 skirt that will last me 5 years, a skirt that will replace one essential article of clothing completely wore out and developed holes since I wore it every year since high school. Or was it Goodwill?

I appreciate my parents' tenacity in helping me overcome the fact that I lived two years of my life believing that the only language that existed was the lipreading language. I appreciate my mom's crusade against the insurance in trying to get my cochlear implant covered, the one I got when I was 17. That cochlear implant helped me immensely in that one bad ear of mine since I could barely hear anything even with a hearing aid.

What I do not appreciate is how my father, while he worked hard at helping me "overcome" deafness, had a problem with me being deaf. I said earlier I hated talking on the phone. Well, it's hard whenever it's a male on the other side. There's certain frequencies that are harder for me to hear--mostly lower frequencies. I could barely hear my dad over the phone. Or my Grampy.

The difference is that Grampy never got frustrated with me asking him to repeat things 5 times (or if he did, he never showed it to the best of my memory), while my dad became convinced it was "proof" that I hated him and didn't want to talk to him, that it was proof of my disrespect for him.

One day, when I called home to let them know I was on my way home from the university (we were required to call when we got to places, and before we got home) I couldn't hear what my dad was trying to say, so finally he had Mom come to the phone and I told her that I was coming home. When I got home, he confronted me, sure that I was disrespectful to him. I told him the truth. "I can't hear most men's voices on the phone." He didn't speak to me for three days. It was actually kind of nice in one way, because he wasn't raging at me. On the other hand, I was waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Or he would call for me from upstairs and on the other end of the house while I was in my basement bedroom. If I didn't hear him, he would send one of my siblings to fetch me, and they would sometimes whisper, "Dad's really mad," or "Dad's in a bad mood" to let me know that he was aggravated that I couldn't hear him.

One memory has been bothering me, lately. I tried to put it in my "container" in therapy yesterday, and it refused to be contained. Even with the help of an imaginary, courageous dog that would help keep me grounded, I struggled with putting it away. I think I've talked about it before on here. I know I have in therapy, with previous counselors.

My brother, Tommy, was in Boy Scouts some years ago. It was the homeschool troop, and met at the same time in the same location as my sisters' American Heritage Girls troop. (AHG is for those who think the Girl Scouts are too liberal). If you've ever been to a scouting meeting, you would know it gets noisy when they're working on activities. Voices overlapping each other, everyone speaking louder to make themselves heard. For us hard of hearing people, that's a nightmare because we don't have the fabled ability to pick out and focus on any particular sound source that hearing people have. We just hear it all. Newer technology is able to focus on only things directly in front of you in noisy situations, but it still isn't perfect.

So, we fake it. My brother was trying to "fake it" by smiling and nodding, and sometimes saying, "Yeah," when people tried to talk to him. We have this fear of seeming stupid. We don't want to respond with a non-sequiter. A made up example: "How are you, Tommy?" "I like watermelon!"

Then, when Tommy, dad, mom, and Betsy came home from scouting--I was babysitting my littlest two siblings--it was apparent that dad was angry the whole car ride home. Tommy was sad and scared. dad sat down on the couch and began yelling at him, as Tommy stood there.

I can't remember the exact words, because all of his rants are similar. It went something like this: "Damn you, Tommy, damn it to hell! What the hell did you think you were doing? You made me look like an idiot! You looked stupid. When people talk, you RESPOND," he said, with his bottom teeth jutting out, jabbing Tommy in the chest with his finger. "God damn it Tommy, you're getting too big for your britches. You think I'm an idiot? Damn spoiled brat! We spend OUR time taking you to these meetings, so you'd better RESPOND when people talk to you, otherwise they'll think you're an idiot and that you're uneducated and a damn spoiled brat!" and on it went for a few more minutes until he sent Tommy to his room, grounded for the next couple weeks.

My heart was pounding. I knew exactly what Tommy was doing at that scouts meeting. I needed to speak up. It was not fair. Grounded because he couldn't hear! Adrenaline surged, and the room tilted for half a second, a bright spark appearing in the corner of my vision. "He couldn't HEAR," I said to dad, interrupting him as he raged out loud to himself, to the rest of us. How dare I interrupt him. Nobody ever interrupts dad during his rages. I could sense my other siblings and my mom tensing up, wondering what would happen next. "It's hard to hear people when it's noisy," I tried to explain, but dad interrupted me, with his face the purplest I'd ever seen, his voice becoming jagged along the edges as he yelled, making angry gestures, "He needs to learn not to be a spoiled brat anymore, and he raged on about Tommy to me. I stood there, clenching my teeth. dad's not going to understand. I expected him to understand about deafness with two deaf kids, and yet he doesn't.

Later on, while the rest of the family was busy with the nighttime routine, I snuck into the boys' bedroom to give Tommy some encouragement. I had to be careful, lest dad punish him even more because it would have been further "evidence" that Tommy was a spoiled brat, trying to get other people to take care of him. I told him it wasn't his fault. That I do the same thing all the time, too. And I gave him some pointers, reminding him that it's okay to ask people to repeat themselves. Just say, "Could you say that again, please?" and people are usually glad to do that. Or say, "It's really noisy in here, and I can't hear too well. Can you repeat that?" Or try to find a quieter spot in the room to talk. I gave him a hug, and told him again, it's not his fault, that dad didn't understand. And then I had to leave the room before dad found out I was talking to Tommy.

I still worry sometimes. It's hard not to be concerned about your little siblings, you know? Doubly so when a verbally and psychologically abusive parent is involved. Even more so when they're deaf, and said parent uses that as a reason to abuse. I really really hope he's doing okay.

I am really open about my deafness, and I use my openness to try to teach others. It helps me in the long run, and I hope it helps others, too. And yet, sometimes when people get aggravated that they have to repeat something, it makes me want to cry. It's a trigger. When people act "weird" about me being deaf, like it's some personal offense to them that someone can't hear them, it makes me want to cry. Or if my deafness somehow hurt someone else--it doesn't happen too often but sometimes I accidentally ignore people--it makes me want to cry. It's a trigger. It honestly is a trigger being deaf, sometimes, bringing up memories like the above, memories that keep refusing to go back into my "container."

With a full toolbox of skills for managing a hearing world with a hearing impairment, my deafness is usually not a problem, but frustrations, if they keep mounting, I get overwhelmed and need some quiet time to myself to "recover."

And I write. Writing this is incredibly therapeutic. Even though my body mildly relived the emotions of the situations, it is so, incredibly, freeing to get this out there, and perhaps now I can put it back into my container.

Thank you for listening.

Filed under: Abuse, misc.

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  • Bravo Holly! Bravo for writing yourself free, bravo for being such a self-advocate and an outstanding example of leading a successful life with hearing loss, bravo for being who you are. Thanks for this post.

  • In reply to Julie:

    Thanks, Julie! It definitely was freeing being able to write this out.

  • Hi Holly, welcome to Chicago Now from a fellow deaf blogger. :)

  • In reply to DeafMom:

    Hi DeafMom, and thanks for the welcome :) I don't get to meet many deaf people anymore, so it's glad to virtually meet you!

  • Excellent article. Most people don't have the faintest idea of what it's like to have an hearing impairment.

  • In reply to DenCollins:

    Thank you for reading, DenCollins!

  • In reply to DenCollins:

    What?

  • After reading this, I know now that I'm not alone. I'm partially deaf; there are some sounds that I just cannot hear. Two incidents happened to me that helped me modify: I'm a very good lip reader and because of it, or so I think, I wasn't hired for this job that I really wanted 10 years ago. The hiring manager caught me reading her lips and she asked if I was deaf. I admitted my deficiency. Saw her scribbling on my profile and never heard from her again. I vowed myself not to look at lips ever again for my next interview. I spent hours having simple conversations with my mother, focusing on her eyes only, not an easy task, but I managed it. I often have caught myself reading someone’s lips and quickly look away. The other incident was talking with my hands. I do not know sign language at all but I tend to talk and describe things doing hand gestures. One guy in college snapped at me once and said “I don’t sign!” I was so embarrassed and stopped doing hand gestures much less.

    I was diagnosed when I was 4 years old. By the age of 5 I was wearing this gigantic over the earlobe hearing aids. When kids found out about my deafness, they would scream right on my ears, I hated it. My father never understood why I can hear my mother, but not him. He would think I just did not want to have a relationship with him. By age of 8 we moved to a single house, where you normally have a basement, the main floor and attic. My mom, if she was in the basement, and I was on the main floor, I would never hear her calling for me. She would scream her lungs out and I still wouldn’t hear her. She came up with a solution: whistling. Immediately I would run down the stairs whenever she whistled.
    The accent! I’m Latina and I should have a Latino accent but I don’t. People cannot figure out where I’m from. I do look a bit Asian so they assume that I’m Asian but once they hear my voice, “where are you from?” “Chicago, born and raise!”
    Thank you for writing this! As I read your article, I kept nodding, agreeing to every incident because in some way or another it also happened to me. You’re not alone!

  • In reply to yoshi729:

    Hi Yoshi, and thanks for reading :) As you shared your story, I too was nodding my head and understood exactly what you were talking about! I like your mom's whistling accommodation for the "yelling across the house." It's so disappointing that your father was like my dad--assuming you didn't want to have a relationship with him? That kind of hurts.

    I presume you have better hearing aids now? :) My goodness, I didn't like those gigantic ones, and was so glad when the hearing aids started getting smaller.

    As for interviews, that was definitely discrimination on the interviewer's part--and they're actually not supposed to ask you if you're deaf, if I understand the ADA correctly. How frustrating. The good news is that a good number of employers don't hold it against you so much anymore. I've found that government jobs and education/library jobs are the most understanding about deafness or any sort of disabilities.

    I do know sign language--but it's terribly rusty right now since I don't have anybody to practice with. Isn't it funny how people naturally gesture more in order to make themselves understood?

    So, I'd say, don't be too self conscious about gesturing or lipreading--we all do it. Even my hearing husband :)

  • DeafMom, meet Holly. Holly, meet DeafMom. (Karen, I met Holly the other day and I told her she needs to get in touch with you. :) )

    Yoshi, your prospective employer was WAAAAAAY out of line and probably illegal. I'm so sorry you had that experience. I try to help my daughter, who is hard of hearing, not to think of her hearing loss as a "deficiency." It has made her who she is--someone who is focused, with outstanding observation skills (which impacts both her art and her science, two of her strong suits), and who is not involved in grade school gossip. She is someone whose adaptation skills are way better than other folks, and who has to work far harder than most kids at everything in school in order to succeed. In short, she is someone who is working on superpowers.

    I try to get these points across. And yet, we miscommunicate, she is occasionally frustrated, and sometimes she gets in trouble at school for "not paying attention." It's not perfect. But in the long run, hearing loss can be understood as an asset instead of a liability. DeafMom asks her children this great question, and mine by extension: Why are you trying so hard to fit in when you were born to stand out?

  • Holly, how courageous of you to write this, especially about your father, the spoiled (*&%$. I'm deaf in my left ear and impaired in my right ear and even with a hearing aid, some situations are impossible to hear what people are saying. So, I have some idea of what you're experiencing, although clearly not as bad. A lot of people don't understand that unimpaired hearing is something like the lack of depth perception for the sighted. Just as two eyes help you see depth, two healthy ears give you directionality and depth. Somehow, you can "look" at the person speaking to you in a noisy, crowded room and understand what he is saying, while filtering out other voices. I don't how it works, but I believe that the mechanism that gives us hearing is as awesome as vision. Anyway, we have to put up with things like: When I hear my wife saying something from another room and I ask, "where are you?" so I can go there and hear better, she says "I'm here." Which, of course, is no help at all. But it's funny, and I have learned to deal with it, just as she has lovingly learned to deal with my impairment.

    Best of luck, Holly, and to the other posters here in the hearing impaired community.

  • In reply to Dennis Byrne:

    Dennis, thanks so much for commenting! That's the best description about hearing directionality that I've ever heard...er...perhaps that isn't the best word to describe it ;) It still seems magical to me to be able to look at a person and focus on their sounds like one focuses on an object. I *sort of* have directionality now that I have a CI and a HA, because the sounds are slightly different in each ear, and I can guess which direction it's coming from based on whether I can hear it on my cochlear side or not.

    You sound like you have a wonderful wife, just as I have a wonderfuly understanding husband. Seriously, I don't know how he can handle a deaf wife AND the fact that I come from a shitty family. Just one by itself can be tricky!

    Kudos to you for having a sense of humor about it. And don't you just love misunderstandings? I need to write some of them down because they can be hilarious and accidentally crude. I'm afraid to write some of them down here :) Let's just say that "home, and" can sound like "boner."

  • Reading this I had two reactions.

    1. I wanted to hug you and your brother both, and possibly kick your dad in the shins. I can't fathom the kind of mind which would equate deafness--something you did not ask for and cannot control--with disrespect.

    2. I wanted to go home to my Mom's house and hug her and apologize for getting exasperated when she asks me to repeat things three or four times. I have a lot of issues with my mother, and we're particularly at swords' points at the moment--but after reading this post I'm going to make a conscious effort to remember that she's 83 years old, that age-related hearing loss runs in her family to a high degree, and that her HEARING LOSS is making it hard for her to understand me, not any of the other issues which have led me over the years to conclude that she just doesn't "understand" me. There are two different issues in play.

    So: thank you for writing this. I'm amazed by your resilience; I'm not sure I'd have turned out so strong

  • In reply to Gladystopia:

    Hi Gladystopia (I love your username, by the way!). Another useful thing, when you start having to repeat things several times for your mother, is to write down the word(s) that she seems unable to understand. This may or may not work depending on her eyesight--that's the challenge sometimes! Or you could use synonyms...sometimes that's all I need to finally figure out what people are trying to say.

    As for my dad--I don't understand how or why he would equate deafness with disrespect, either. I think that's a good thing we don't understand how his mind works because then it means we're sane, ha.

  • Your story reminds me of my dad,his father treated him the same way, though in his case not only was he berated for not hearing but it was grandpas fault he was profoundly deaf. My dad was born hearing totally fine but as a very young boy his dad hit him so hard it damaged his ears. I didn't know of this until I was over 18 but finding this out made me understand so much of my fathers personality and really saddened me. I lost my dad when I was 22 (I'm 42 now) and I greatly miss him but his deafness taught me patience

  • In reply to NotSoTweetOne:

    NotSoTweetOne, I'm sorry that you lost your father, but I am glad you were able to enjoy some time with him, and that you were able to learn the virtue of patience from him. I can't understand why anybody would hit a child, let alone hit a child hard enough to damage hearing. That is just...wow.

  • Hi Holly. I have severe hearing loss on both left and right ears. If someone talks to me, i will be able to hear 5 words out of 15 in a sentence. Life is very very hard living with a severe hearing loss. 99% of those with normal hearing will never ever ever ever understand the life of hearing loss. It is one of the thing must accept the fact in a painful way at work, home, and outside. The best way i deal with people who are irritated repeating themselves over and over is to stay away or ignore them and move on. Otherwise, will bring greater frustration. I always wish i have a normal hearing, but life is what it is.

  • In reply to Brian:

    Hi Brian,

    Severe loss is definitely very difficult! If I hear with only my hearing aid ear, then I have about the speech recognition as you. With familiar people, I can usually understand more, like my husband or inlaws. I am so glad that the cochlear implant helps me. I know it doesn't work for everyone, but it really helped open my world a bit more.

    It is really painful, sometimes, dealing with people who don't understand. Even if you can hear well enough, it's difficult to explain to people that "yes, I can hear you, but no, I can't hear the doorbell." or whatever it is. If you find someone who does understand, or works hard to understand, then they're a keeper :) That's how I knew Jeff, my husband, was a keeper. I just wish I had the same patience he has!

    It is what it is, but we can make the most of what it is :)

  • Hello Holly..I am a coda (child of a deaf adult). growing up I have personally witnessed many acts of discrimination against my Deaf mother. I can personally tell you that the problem is not with deaf people, it is with society, and their perspective of deaf people. I would really encourage you to get your feet wet and participate more in the Deaf Community. Both Columbia College and Harper College constantly have deaf events that anyone can participate in. Don't worry about your rusty signing, as many ASL students attend these events, and trust me when I say the deaf people are very patient with us. I wish you the best.

  • In reply to chitownchick2002:

    Thank you so much for letting me know about where the Deaf events are! Whenever I get free time (that is, probably when school is over) I will have to start going :)

  • fb_avatar

    Holly, welcome to Chicago. Oh boy reading your story was like I was back in my home with my family. I am the only Deaf in my family, and by Deaf I mean NO HEARING! Zero, zip. Zilch, nada! You get the picture. My parents were sooooooo ashamed of me and my deafness that they sent me to speech therapy for what seemed at that time, like forever. They forced me to wear hearing aids that did nothing but cause pain each and every time I heard a sound. . ANY sound!! But it was imperative I look and sound "normal." I once told my mother "normal" was a setting on a clothes dryer, and got a smack for that. Because they insisted I be hearing, they send me to hearing schools K-12 and refused to allow me to have interpreters. They refused to allow my siblings, any family (aunt, cousin, grand parent, etc) or anyone in the n neighborhood to sign. I was not allowed to sign in the home, not allowed D/deaf friends, not allowed to attend d/Deaf events, and the biggies not allowed to date d/Deaf men.

    When I went to Gally my folks told my extended family I hated hearing people and wanted only to associate with d/Deaf. When I called home on the TTY, my father refused to use the TTY I purchased for my family, and if I called through relay he would hang up on me.

    When I was listed in "Who's Who in American Colleges and Universities," my father said I only earned that award because Gally was a "Deaf and Dumb" college and if I went to a hearing college I would not be smart enough to graduate. To prove i could acnieve success at a hearing college I transferred to a hearing college and graduated on both Dean's and President's list. My father simply told me I was being a bitch for standing him up. The family didn't watch me graduate. Nor did they attend my wedding to a HEARING man, not only was he HEARING, he was also blind. But e have two beautiful children.

    Then the family told me I would never be a good mother because I am Deaf and sick. Both sons graduated on honor roll, one with National Honors Society and the other earns two scholarships to college; one for choir and one for orchestra and band. Plus, my husband passed away 12 years ago so I basically raised my sons alone.

    To this day my parents do not speak to me. My siblings never learned to sign and neither did any of my extended family.

    So I know EXACTLY what you must have felt like growing up. I appreciate you sharing your story.

  • In reply to Teresa Brand:

    Hugs to you! I'm so glad you decided to take charge of your education and EXCEL even though your parents were nutters! And congratulations on getting listed in the Who's Who and getting on the Dean's and President's lists, in case nobody's said that yet :) And I am so glad you were able to marry a wonderful man and be an amazing mother to your sons.

    My parents didn't attend my wedding either--they said they wouldn't attend so I simply didn't invite them. Not only did they say they wouldn't attend, they emailed all of our family friends and relatives and told them not to attend either because they wanted people to be "on their side." I am glad to say that nearly everybody showed up anyway.

    "Normal is a setting on the clothes dryer." I LOVE that. Here's a high five for that one!

  • In reply to Teresa Brand:

    I've heard so many stories like this from deaf and HoH people. So many. It's just tragic and I simply do not get it. My 2-year-old needs hearing aids. So what? I wear glasses and have since I was 7 years old. There's no difference. I order ear molds for her that are pink and purple and lime green. She should not have to hide her hearing aids! And more importantly I should be able to find them when she pulls those suckers out!

    My daughter's speech therapist tells me though that even in this day & age she sees so many parents whose chief concern seems to be that their child will be able to "speak normal."

    Your parents were jerks and I hope you realize that none of that was your fault.

  • In reply to Christine Whitley:

    Sorry I was so slow at responding to this comment! And yes--it's just amazing how many people who don't "get it." Then I meet parents like you and Julie and DeafMom who give me renewed hope about parents who DO get it. :)

    Even though I'm all grown up, I still pick out bright earmold colors because deafness is just who I am...and I see the earmolds like an accessory, like earrings or something. Not to mention it helps people notice it. If I can't understand a person, I casually tuck my hair behind my ear and that draws their attention to my earmolds, and then they immediately start speaking more clearly. :)

    That was my dad's huge concern, too--about me speaking "normally." It reminds me of another story I had, which might better be suited for a post of its own, but it centered around me being "mush-mouthed" and "sounding like an idiot." It definitely hurt. It's one thing to manage one's "deaf accent" but it's another to equate it with stupidity.

  • Just happened upon this discussion, and felt a need to comment.
    I see so much strength in the comments by others here, and applaud your strengths. I am glad there are forums/groups/organizations for sharing experiences and encouragement and progress. Much has been accomplished, but i hope it continues and grows.
    I am now in my so-called "senior" years, and have developed mild hearing loss, as have others in my family, including my dad, who began to show hearing loss by the time he turned 60. I got hearing aids in my early 60s as soon as I realized that I had hearing loss, because I did not want to follow in my dad's footsteps.
    Amazingly, my dad NEVER acknowledged he had hearing loss. Instead he complained that we (family) were mumbling, had lost the ability to speak clearly, and he eventually claimed that we were talking softly specifically to annoy him. likewise - the whole world was apparently conspiring against him too, by whispering, mumbling, and making it difficult for him to communicate.
    And what was really troubling about all that? [aside from having to shout everything, over and over, to an unappreciative listener] It was that, whenever someone ELSE did not understand something HE had said, he would nastily attack, saying (in a tone dripping with scorn) : "What's the matter, are you deaf?" Yes, he scorned those who apparently could not hear him, as though it was something they were doing, on purpose, to annoy him.
    This - from a man who - himself was losing his hearing AND had been born nearly blind !! He had been unable to continue past 8th grade, because of his severely impaired sight, and the lack of educational opportunities/support for such conditions/people in his generation.
    The sad thing is - it illustrates - to me - that the attitude of a society can be so powerful, that people can embrace and perpetuate that society's bias - even if the bias is against themselves. The culture (yes - here in the US) lacked tolerance/acceptance of [people with] impaiments, so my dad had learned to despise impaiments - even those that he had, himself.

    And, although there is progress, it continues today. I ended a friendship some years ago, with a person who - as she began to lose her hearing - started down the path my dad had taken. She was NOT open to discussion, gentle observations - and direct requests in regard to her hearing loss, nor, a few years later - in regard to my beginning loss.

  • In reply to GreenMoth:

    Thanks for writing, GreenMoth, and thanks for reading!

    I'm not surprised your dad never got hearing aids and never acknowledged his hearing loss--my great grandpa also never got hearing aids. It did mean that we could hardly talk to each other since he couldn't hear me that well, and I couldn't hear him that well! I'm fortunate that great grandpa was much more kindly about my deafness than your dad was.

    Indeed, it is sad that the intolerance of society affects others with disabilities--you described it so eloquently. I am glad that among my friends, who are part of the younger generations ( from the1960s onward to people my age) are much more open and understanding about disabilities. Even then, there are some who simply are bigoted like some of the people the other commenters encountered, and that makes me sad.

    Kudos to you for taking charge of your own hearing loss, and I hope we as a society keeps becoming more and more understanding.

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