Early Morning Pondering About My Hearing Loss

As a person who was born severely deaf, I am almost always at a loss for words when people talk to me about my deafness.

People ask so many things.

I try to share my journey the best I can.

People say everything from, "I could not tell you were deaf."

All the way to, "You sounded different before you got hearing aids."

--To those who say they could not tell...

nor could many teachers, friends, family members, and many around me who now realize that it was right in front of them.

Trust me, I wish they could. Though, there was one person who knew. He just did not know what he did not know. My dad knew something was not right.

--To those who say I sound different than I did before I got hearing aids...

Yes, of course I do.

When a person can actually hear their voice, they can control it too.

I could not hear my voice.

I did not know what loud and soft meant.

I was always so confused when people would say, "Diane, you are being too loud."

Or when I would get in trouble for being "too quiet."

It all sounded the same to me.

My entire 50 years I could never grasp the too loud or too soft.

I wondered why I could not understand that concept.

So I would put my hand on my throat.

I knew if I was being too loud or being too soft by the vibrations on my throat.

I mastered feeling my throat and matching what the vibration felt like with those who responded to my voice.

"Diane, you are too loud...."

felt different on my throat than

"Diane.... you are being too quiet."

Both got me in trouble.

So I counted on my hand feeling my throat my entire 50 years.

In time, I knew how loud or soft to be.

Truth be told, I still made mistakes because I would talk and not hold my throat. Those times were few and far between because I was corrected rather quickly. My entire life.

As for articulation, I can thank my dad.

I was told over and over again....

Diane, articulate.

Diane enunciate.

Diane stop stuttering.

None of that made sense to me.

So I watched my mom.

I saw the way she made her words.

And practiced in bed, at night, making a t.

Even though I could not hear it.

I could see it. I saw my mom make a t.

I saw the way she put her teeth together. I watched her closely to see how to form words.

I trusted her.

And I knew if I held that t long enough, I would not get in trouble.

Same for s's, the th's, the f's, and so many other sounds.

They did not exist. But I saw them. I saw my mom make them with her mouth.

I mimicked my mom's movements of her teeth, her tongue and her jaw.

I practiced her movements in bed at night.

In time, everyone praised me for being articulate.

What ever that was.

I did not hear the difference between what I was told I was doing wrong, and what I now mimicked.

In time, I just did what I saw naturally.

That did not change that I could not hear.

I would lean in, and watch people talk.

People would mention how they loved how much I cared about what they were sharing.

I was, and am still, dependent on watching every thing you say.

I was lip reading every word.

I still do.

If someone is on the other side of the room from me, I will "hear" every word they say.

My friends have tested me.

We have laughed about my ability to do this.

I am getting lazy with these hearing aids, and I am counting on them more and more.

But even with them, I need to watch your mouth for me to "hear" you.

The bonus in all of this....

It turns out, I do not have a deep and gravely voice like I thought I had my whole life.

It is rather pretty. And very sweet. Nothing like I heard it my whole life.

And nothing like I hear it without my hearing aids.

I do not like to hear the voice I heard my whole life. I love my real voice.

In the morning, I would rather not say good morning to my family until I get my hearing aids in.

All of the world of sounds have opened up to me,

and my own voice is no different. It is truly my favorite thing to hear.

My hearing friends tell me how much they hate their own voice.

Not me.

It is like nothing I have ever heard.

And every day I am grateful for my voice....

And then there is music!

Not one single song I hear on the radio sounds even close to what I heard growing up.

My three residual sounds in my right ear did all the work.

(For those science geeks, they are in the low tones. I'm a science geek so I am comfortable calling you out. So yes, I heard three sounds in the low tone pretty normal, in my right ear. Which was where all of the work was getting done. Any sound I heard that was close to normal was a low sound.)

All the rest are somewhere on that crazy chart of hearing loss. On the audiogram.

It is not lost on me that a person who was born so severely deaf never heard of an audiogram until I was 50 years old.

And that audiogram changed my life for ever.

For the better.

Though it was so much hard work.

This "hearing" world was a lot to take in for a 50 year old, who has never heard SO many sounds.

Every single day, still today, I learn how to hear, and appreciate the hearing world.

I am a realist.

I know that my hearing is manufactured.

I know that those who actually hear are living in a completely different world than I am.

But I am grateful for every new sound I hear.

I am going on 3 years this summer living in the "hearing" world.

I realize many things.

For one,

I can snap.

I wrote about that right after I got these "machines" er, um I mean, hearing aids.

I grew up wishing I could actually make noise with my fingers.

I remember also wishing I could whistle.

I heard my own version of whistling and snapping.

When I got these sweet girls, who I call Faith and Hope, (thanks to one of my Facebook friends helping me name them), I realized what snapping really was, and what whistling really was...

and it turns out....

I can do both.

Very easily in fact.

I wrote about both of these tricks I could do really close to the first days of my hearing journey.

As I shared in the beginning of this post

 I still get asked a lot of questions.

I do my best to answer them as I take in what they are asking.

It can take a lot at times...

Some people will  ask me this...

"Do you think you lost your hearing? Any chance that you lost it, and you just now realize it?"

I smile when they ask this.

Those who have known me my whole life do not ask this.

My life finally makes sense to them.

And it finally makes sense to me too.

This entry was posted on Friday, February 8, 2019. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response.

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