May 29, 2010

Rantings of a Hearing Impaired Person...

by Andrea Tadpole

I have severe hearing loss in my left ear and moderate in my right. I have a voice because I didn’t lose my hearing until I was in my 20s. I don’t sign, I read lips. When I was 24 I had surgery on my left ear to fix it and it went bad. I lost even more hearing in it. From 23 years ago when I woke up from surgery until today my left ear has rang 24/7 sometimes so loud I cannot hear or understand anything, much less hear my own voice. My heart has beat in my ears really loud most of the time all my life because the artery that runs in my neck is unusually close to my middle ear. Surgery to fix it would kill me. I usually don't gripe about it, I just try to do the best I can to live with it.

Yet, today, I am complaining. I am sick and tired of people expecting me to be able to hear like a “normal” person. I CANNOT MAKE MYSELF hear any better than I do. If I could I would. I cannot help it that I cannot hear MY OWN VOICE very good at times. I cannot explain why one minute I can sit and talk to someone and the next I can't understand a word they are saying because the background noise drowns everything out. It’s not personal; I have hearing loss that's all. Hearing aids don't make me hear "normal" they make me hear EVERYTHING and my brain doesn't know how to filter sounds anymore. Sometimes the “NOISE” from wearing hearing aids overwhelms me to the point that I can’t think. Is that my fault? Is it something that gives you the right to be pissed off at me about it? I can't fix it. I can only live with it.

When the one's I love get mad at me and give me the silent treatment because I couldn't understand or spoke too loud or whatever it is that I did that day to "embarrass" them again because I can't hear it breaks my heart. My heart is broken today.

DO NOT EVEN TELL ME YOU UNDERSTAND if you CAN HEAR because YOU DON'T. Try walking in my shoes before you are so quick to kick me when I'm down. Try a little bit of compassion for me instead of shutting me out. IT HURTS.

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