Hearing loss is permanent, but people with hearing loss can, and do, live rich and fulfilling lives. I should know - this is the journey that I live everyday.
Born deaf, I was not diagnosed with a bilateral hearing loss until I was 3 years old. For the first 3 years of my life, doctors deemed it as "just going through a phase." My parents recall banging pots, clapping & yelling my name so loud behind me when they realized that it was not a phase - it was more than that. Pushing doctors immensely for a hearing test, it turned out I had moderate to severe hearing loss. Fitted for my first hearing aids at 3 years old, I shouted nonsense in the doctor's office because I had realized I was hearing things for the first time!
Resources for hearing development/assistance was not quite adequately known in our community. At that time, technology was just starting to get more and more developed. Going through my childhood with using only hearing aids, I play piano, sports and graduated high school, college & grad school. In 2009, I became a mother to a beautiful girl who is the twinkle of my eye, my reason for breathing. I have always been self-sufficent and content with using only hearing aids to navigate throughout life - I was getting by just fine.
It wasn't until an accident occuring April of 2014 that impacted my life & my sense of independence. Getting hit in the head, I was left with a concussion that deteriorated most of the little existing hearing that I once had. Thus adding more to my hearing loss putting me in the severe range. Faced with this advertisy and wanting so bad to gain my independence back to feel self-sufficient again, I decided to research & navigate the world of Cochlear Implants. While I was able to heal from my concussion, my hearing eventually came back minimally, but not like it was once before.
I still felt self-inadequate and my independence wasn't quite 100% the same like it was before. I decided to still continue my Cochlear Implant research. In February of 2015, I received a Cochlear Implant on my left ear, what I had considered my "worse" ear out of the two. This opened up a whole new world for me - never would I have imagined the opportunites and experiences I have been blessed with since then.
Armed with a newfound sense of independence, I was able to hear & do things I was not able to do before with my hearing aid.
I remember hearing my own car clicking turn signal for the first time and was first in puzzlement because I didn't know what that sound was & where it was coming from. I remember asking my friend on a hike what that unknown nature sound was and it was birds tweeting - never heard that before! I remember being brought to a professional Major League Baseball game, sitting about 20 rows back and heard the wood bat crack for the first time - giving me chills & goosebumps. Most of all, I remember the most warmest & most proudest realization I ever had when I was able to have conversation with my daughter while my back was turned to her for the first time.
These little cherished moments and this continuous journey that I'm on is why I'm participating in the Walk4Hearing - I'm aiming to help raise awareness and improve the lives of people with hearing loss. I want to help others feel they are not alone and they can live well & independently with a hearing loss - however severe or mild it may be. The funds are raised to provide national and local services that are dedicated to supporting those individuals like myself who currently uses Caption Call along with the Cochlear Implant. I also want to educate and help provide avenues to those who have people close to them with a hearing loss.
The Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) is the nation’s leading organization representing people with hearing loss. HLAA strives to give people the tools they need to live more successfully with hearing loss and to show them they do not have to face it alone. It starts right here in my own community with people like you, who are willing to step up and support.
If you're interested, you are welcome to join me and my team when we participate in the virtual walk happening on 6/12/2021!!!
Thank you for the love and taking the time to read about my personal continuous journey!