a conversation with my audi

This is what happened after requesting a previous audiogram from my old audiologist. 

Me:yes I got it, thank you! I’m amazed at the changes… over three years, almost to the day… major changes. The ENT said he thinks it is genetic… but we are doing tests to be sure. Thank you!

I’m sorry –  Are your ears still functional (that is, can you use hearing aids and get good benefit even though your loss is severe/profound)?  Deb

yes and no… I have the phonak Naida S UPs… so I am getting the access to the sound that I need, but my speech discrimination has gone down to about 25%… so I’m not understanding much at all. They also have been having the tendency to give me headaches when used for longer than an hour or two at a time, and I get dizzy pretty fast when wearing them. And even though my current audiologist checked my comfort level, to be sure that loud sounds don’t hurt… sometimes they still do… having to do more fine tuning I think. They were much more useful in July then they are now… at that time my left ear was at 80 db and my right ear was at 90… 


P.S. You don’t have to be sorry… I’ve known this day would come for a while now… so I’ve been preparing. Finding the Deaf Community here has been an absolutely amazing experience, and my eyes have been opened to a world I never knew existed, never knew I could be a part of. I sign nearly fluently, it is my main mode of communication now, though I still lipread and voice for my clients at work, but I’m finding my way home, to people who understand me, and I them. The main reason I’m even seeing the ENT isn’t necessarily because I’m worried about what is going to happen if I loose all my hearing… but more because I want to be sure there isn’t something physically wrong that may affect other parts of my body. I’m finally happy being Deaf… I don’t HAVE to ask people anymore, what? sorry didn’t catch that… or try to pretend that I can follow conversations where there are multiple speakers… I have learned I don’t have to apologize for who I am, who I have become, and that has made all the difference.
The simple words of saying I’m sorry may not seem insulting to many people… especially when it is over “loosing” a sense… and… I can’t really say that I was truly insulted… but I did feel the need to educate. I have never had perfect hearing, I have always had some loss… though it has never been to the extent that it is now… it was never perfect. Its taken me years to figure out who I am, where I belong… and along the way I have had the numerous… “i’m so sorry you can’t hear” or the “I will pray that Jesus gives you your hearing back” or the “you poor thing” it happens… too often for my liking. And for such a long time… I thought that I was wrong, that someone made a mistake while making me, that I was less because of my being “less than perfect”… but then… I found the Deaf community, I found sign language which came so naturally to me, in a way speech and hearing never did. Things are no longer muffled… but the sign, they are clear… they are understandable… they are nothing less than beautiful. I wish that I could show people how I see the world around me, how I perceive it… with and without my hearing aids on.

Let me draw a mental picture…
without my hearing aids…
science, you feel the air all around you, the slightest vibrations, you see the beauty of the earth… the colors seem so distinct, magnified almost… you see the people around you… some of them walking in their own little world… some of them moving their lips… rhythmically… you may wonder what they are saying… but normally… you know it is of little importance. You walk and see a friend… one who communicates on your terms… with their hands and eyes instead of their mouth and ears… and this wonderful conversation follows… and you see the pictures moving infront of you, you see their message drawn out like its a movie… and yours is the same… it feels… beautiful…

with my Hearing Aids…
noise, all the things that people with normal hearing learn to tune out… the noise… the fans in the background feeling as if they are jets going off in your ears… after a few minutes… your eyesight feels as if it is starting to go… it becomes fuzzy as your head begins to hurt… because… this isn’t normal, this isn’t natural… this isn’t… you. You have to concentrate, trying to read what little there is to be shown on a persons lips, to try and get the meaning… and try and connect it with the noise blasting into your ears… now… imagine something dropping a few feet from you… it feels as if it is right there… right in your ear… drilling a hole into your head… and then you remember, you are trying to have a conversation with someone… so you concentrate on their lips again… you pick up… “blah blah try blah blah blah blah blah home blah blah blah with blah blah blah fun” what could that mean? and the words you caught… are they really the words that were said? there is no way to know… so you smile and nod… the sounds in your ears just getting louder, and louder… you just want it to be… quiet… to be able to understand… 

in the Deaf community… I am home… when I am forced into the hearing world… I am an outcast, a stranger… lost… so there is no reason to say I’m sorry… there is no reason to “pray for my hearing” but there is every reason to learn my language, to interact with me on my terms, only then can you see who I really am… because only then am I home. 

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