Adjustment to late onset deafness

Hi, I'm Val, 20 years old. I had meningitis back in 2016 and lost my hearing. It has been and still is very hard for me to accept. I'm angry and depressed a lot. After a lot of isolation, two years or so, I decided to do something about it. Mostly due to my mom begging for me to join the world again. I went to the audiologist to see if she could help me. She sent me for a Cochlear Implant eval. and told me that her hearing aids weren't strong enough for my loss. I went through the CI qualification process but didn't qualify. My ears are too messed up from the meningitis for the CI to work right. This made me angry and depressed all over again.

I'm seeing a therapist for acceptance of my deafness and anxiety that has come from it. I found out that I have PTSD from the meningitis too. My therapist is very optimistic about me. He told me I have a lot of potential. He said deaf doesn't equal a death sentence. I can still have a full and meaningful life and he would help me navigate this new world.

When my parents and brother first knew I lost my hearing they took sign language classes to help me but I refused to learn with them. I was just to mad. I didn't want to be deaf or anything to do with the deaf. Now, two years later, I am learning to sign. I have a private tutor and she teaches me one on one. At first I didn't think it would make a difference. I didn't think I could learn sign language because after the meningitis I have trouble focusing, and remember things but I am learning even if it is slow. It helps me that my family signs to me. I don't feel left out with them anymore. I did feel left out, but that my choice before when I didn't want to learn sign. I'm still isolating myself, but I'm working on it with my therapist. I'm taking things slowly. Did go out last week to church, which I haven't been to in ages. There is progress going on here even if it is at a snails pace. I hope to make some friends and share some experience here with all of you.
 

Bear

Well-Known Member
Valorrian,

I did the same thing when I first lost my hearing at the tender age of 14. I believe my story is posted somewhere in this thread. I think it is very natural to feel anger and resentment. We most certainly didnt ask for or want this. I have been deaf now for 33 years. I have long come to accept that I am deaf and have made many friends. Don't give up, there are some very beautiful things about being deaf. Are there days when I still get angry, jealous, or resentful? Hell yes! It is not really about accepting who you are or what you are. It is about something was taken from us. We didnt ask for it. It just happened. Those that were born deaf or were deaf from a very young age have a hard time understanding why we feel this way. Many take pride in their deafness. I think that with help and time you will do just fine. Continue with the therapy and sign classes. It may also help to find a social group around you to help you see that there are many just like you and that there is a whole community with its own rich culture and history. Good luck to you.
 
Hi Bear,
Thanks for the encouragement. I did go back and found your post. It is interesting how it takes so much time to accept things. Are you still wearing your CI? Does your CI implants help you hear well? or do you still need to sign and lipread? I tried for CI implants but did not qualify. They told me that my ears have to much ossification and degeneration to the nerves.

I see that many people take pride in their deafness. Maybe one day I will too. At this moment in time I'm not proud to be "deaf". I don't want people to even know I have a hearing issue. If I could hide it the rest of my life I probably would. I don't like to use the word deaf to pertain to myself, I always say I cannot hear. I don't like to label myself. Why should I have to. I know it means the same thing but I don't view myself as really Deaf even though I can't hear anything. Does that even make sense? Hence the reason I'm in therapy and learning how cope. Thanks again for the support.
 

Bear

Well-Known Member
Hi Bear,
Thanks for the encouragement. I did go back and found your post. It is interesting how it takes so much time to accept things. Are you still wearing your CI? Does your CI implants help you hear well? or do you still need to sign and lipread? I tried for CI implants but did not qualify. They told me that my ears have to much ossification and degeneration to the nerves.

I see that many people take pride in their deafness. Maybe one day I will too. At this moment in time I'm not proud to be "deaf". I don't want people to even know I have a hearing issue. If I could hide it the rest of my life I probably would. I don't like to use the word deaf to pertain to myself, I always say I cannot hear. I don't like to label myself. Why should I have to. I know it means the same thing but I don't view myself as really Deaf even though I can't hear anything. Does that even make sense? Hence the reason I'm in therapy and learning how cope. Thanks again for the support.

Your welcome, I am glad you found my post. I wear my CI when necessary. I can hear with it but not as well as I had hoped to. Whether if that has to do with me not working hard enough to hear with it or just not getting enough practice, I do not know. I preferred my hearing aids. Call me spoiled but I too would rather still have my natural hearing. I do sign and lipread on an almost daily basis. My husband is deaf but my mother in law is HOH/Oral so I am forced to lipread her on a daily basis.

I can understand the feelings of not wanting others to know you are deaf. That has never bothered me before at all When I first lost my hearing, I was devastated. I was just like you, I withdrew from the world. It took me a whole year to even get off the couch and attempt to talk to people again. I slowly came to terms with it. I have accepted that I am deaf but I do resent the fact that others can still hear and I was the one chosen to be deaf. I mean I sometimes to this day ask.....why me? I see my daughter talking on the phone and getting jobs so easily because she does not have the barriers and I am even more resentful. I see people enjoying music and sound and feel like such an outsider. Yet, I am equally grateful for being deaf. Because of my deafness I have had the privilege of learning how to sign, meeting some awesome people, and belonging to a culture that is rich with diversity and history.

It's not easy and each day brings a different struggle and a different way of seeing things. Eventually though, given time you will come to see that being deaf has its blessings too.
 
Thanks. I want to get to the point where I am comfortable in my own skin and am able to be me. This morning I went in the pool. I didn't swim. I just sat in the water and then I decided to see if I could float on my back. It made me feel so peaceful. I let my self go. I've been holding myself together so tight all the time trying not to fall apart that just letting go felt great.
 

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