I was born deaf.
At least, I think I was. That, or it may have been the measles I contracted when I was four weeks old that could have caused it. I’ll never know.
Note: I'm not fully deaf, only partially, but in both ears.
I’m lucky: it hasn’t affected my quality of life too much and I can still hear what people say, just not as well as the general population.
Basically, I live life on the quieter side.
To my audiologist’s despair, I didn’t wear my hearing aids often after I hit high school; I found them 'unnecessary'. But after joining the workforce, they’re now part of my everyday life. I still don’t wear them on the weekends; I like to let my ears ‘breathe’.
In saying that, the advances in hearing aid technology have sky rocketed over the past two decades and the hearing aids I wear now are barely noticeable compared to the clunky machines I'd wear as a child.
It often takes a while for people to find out I’m deaf, because let's face it, it’s not something that organically comes up in conversation (unless they’re an unnaturally soft speaker). The revelation comes as a shock to many, but these are the things I’ve learned growing up deaf:
1. People think you have selective hearing
2. You get pretty darn good at lip reading.
Watch the stomach-clenching hilarious video below of some bad lip reading. Post continues after video.
3. When people find I'm deaf, they’ll mouth something to me like, ‘can you hear me now?’ I laugh out of kindness. And mild loathing.
4. If, like me, you wear your hair down almost always, people won’t realise you’re deaf for YEARS.
5. You have to explain to people that you’re not ignoring them - you literally cannot hear them.
6. Trying to speak to someone in pitch blackness is next to impossible.
7. You avoid softly spoken people. At all costs.
8. The back seats of a car is your worst nightmares.
9. You’re always jumpy because you can never hear anyone approaching.
10. You have no issues living in an apartment – the baby crying upstairs is completely inaudible.
11. When you visit the audiologist you’re completely torn between hearing aids that match your hair colour, or those awesome leopard print ones.
12. You’re constantly asking people to turn up the TV.
13. When someone asks you a question, you get them to repeat it 3 times and eventually give up.
14. Your friends can automatically tell whether you've heard them or not.
15. Without your hearing aids, the world is a much simpler, quieter, peaceful place.
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