Talking about my own journey with hearing loss is still something I struggle to admit to. It’s not something I feel freely comfortable about. And whilst I realise the irony of raising a daughter to be proud and accepting of her deafness.
She is really the one reason that’s leading me on a journey to accept my own disability myself. I lost my own hearing around the age 8-12 nobody really truly knows. And I have spent many of my teenage year feeling sheer anger towards the world, hating myself,
Embarrassed by myself and the new life I was forced to live as a now deaf person.
But perhaps one day I’ll talk about this soon, I’m just not ready yet. So here is a little insight to one of my struggles…
As an adult with hearing loss, the simple things, everyday things in life can become exhausting.
How can hearing loss lead to a feeling quite like exhaustion, I hear you say. (No pun intended!).
Having a device like a hearing aid, which works by amplifying the sounds, leads us into being ‘in between’ the deaf and hearing communities, the aids act like a bridge bringing us together.
Yet, I cannot solely depend on the hearing aids. The aids do not always give me the accessibility to access all sounds when there’s lots of disturbances like background noise in shops for instance, the music, air conditioning, hums of chatter by others around you, footsteps and clatters, the high pitch of a baby or child scream or cry. Doors opening and shutting, rustling of a bag can all take away the sound you’re trying to focus on.
Being deaf you can absolutely find yourself working above and beyond to hear. Working in retail, possibly the hardest career choice for a deaf person, I concentrate intensely and rely on lip reading my customers and fellow team members and have to concentrate in order to be able to keep up with hearing people. When needing to use the phones, you have taken away the help of lip reading, taken away the ability to read people’s body language and facial expressions which is extremely helpful and important when trying to identify the nature of topic which can be problematic. I have to consistently repeat myself and really focus on ensuring I’m hearing correctly without the aid of support when a person is in front of you.
I really do struggle and the focusing is exhausting. Whilst I am incredibly lucky and privileged to live in a country where resources like hearing aid equipment and testing is free via NHS, being given the ability to hear my children say I love you is overwhelming and I’m beyond grateful to have this opportunity, but times when the days feel tiresome or challenging I do take the hearing aids out and it is very liberating to really appreciate and take pleasure of the silence and be deaf again.