Hearing Aids Are Not A Fix

#1
As an individual with a progressive hearing loss, I have found that my adjustment to being Deaf has become a long-lived process. Losing sounds over time has been a definite struggle for me. I find myself clinging to the sounds that I can still "hear," but this makes me feel guilty for not accepting and being okay with being Deaf.
Over the past few weeks, I have come to the realization that I still struggle with being Deaf. It is not that I am not proud to be a part of Deaf Culture, but sometimes it would be so much easier to have the ability to hearing everything going on. Over the past several months I have started training in MMA and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ). When training, it is vital for me to be able to understand my coaches to learn to defend myself and avoid injury. But being completely honest, having a hearing loss makes this a huge struggle. When instructors are demonstrating a hold/attack/submission in BJJ, they are unlikely to be facing me the entire time. I have to constantly move around while trying to piece together the fragments that I can catch of what the instructor says. I have no access to the feedback that teammates are calling out from the sidelines (which all my hearing counterparts have access to without a problem).
When I am in a conversation with somebody and am struggling to understand them, I often wished I could just sink into the floor. People often get frustrated when they are asked to repeat or clarify what they said several times. Or they say things like "it's nothing" or "I'll tell you later." Even though I know it is not my fault that I cannot understand them, I become frustrated because I want to. My hearing aids help me hear better, but this does not mean that I my brain can recognize and process these sounds, especially in noisy environments. Sometimes, I wish I could walk up to a hearing person, who doesn't know any sign language and have complete confidence that we could be able to talk back and forth without any frustration or communication breakdowns.
While many people say hearing aids and cochlear implants are a “fix” for hearing loss, this is simply not the case. The only thing that my hearing aids do is amplify sound. When I wear my hearing aids, I may be able to hear more things, but the sound is jumbled and hard to understand. The damage to my ears cannot be repaired, so the sound will never be as clear for me as it is for people who do not have damage in their ears or have a hearing loss. Additionally, my hearing loss is so severe that despite the use of hearing aids I still cannot hear many sounds.
It is hard for me to admit this but being Deaf has significantly impacted my self-confidence. I am much more hesitant to walk onto the mats to train because I know that I will be submitted if I look up to lipread to get advice. Despite my hearing aids, my hearing loss causes me to become more hesitant to go to busy places or restaurants where I know communication will be difficult. I am hesitant to walk down the sidewalk on a busy park path, as I cannot hear anybody approaching and have been run down before. Although hearing aids can help with the development of speech skills, they do not fix a hearing loss. Relying on hearing aids to be a fix, and only relying on residual hearing causes many issues for me.
While many of my friends are learning ASL, not many people in my life sign with much proficiency. I work online, but my boss and coworkers do not use ASL, nor does my family. For most of the day, I rely on my two hearing aids and ability to lipread to function in mainstream society.
Growing up without sign language and in a mainstream school, set me up for a life where I communicated orally. Unfortunately, this did not set me up to manage my hearing loss as it has continued to worsen as my ability to understand speech has diminished. My entire childhood was focused on sound, using my residual hearing, and my voice. Despite learning ASL and becoming more involved in the Deaf Community, I find myself wishing hearing aids were more of a fix than they are.
 
#2
Hello, and welcome to the forum! I see you are new here.

You stated above........."While many people say hearing aids and cochlear implants are a “fix” for hearing loss, this is simply not the case."

Yes, they are not a "fix", but many hearing people do believe that hearing aids or a cochlear implant will make you hear "normal." I recently got my first cochlear implant, and yes, my friends expected me to hear and understand everything right off. Most people don't realize there is a lot of work ahead with auditory rehab for a new cochlear implant user. Some have seen the "wow, I can hear!" feel good videos that have been posted on the internet.....so they think everyone who gets a cochlear implant will be like that. But that is okay, for me, at least. I simply patiently explain how a cochlear implant works, and what can be expected of it. People are generally curious, and I have found they are open to learning about cochlear implants.

While I can't offer you much comfort, I do understand much of how you feel. I have been there. After a long life of hearing, I began to lose my hearing a few years ago due to Meniere’s Disease. I just got my first cochlear implant at the age of 61.

If I can help you with anything, please feel free to send me a message on All Deaf. You will find others on the forum who also lost their hearing, and maybe they can offer you some encouragement.

Take heart, you are not alone.
 

Valorrian

Active Member
#3
Hello,
I see your struggle. I understand what you mean by struggling with deafness. I was very sick a couple of years ago and lost my hearing. My hearing loss was not progressive like yours, it was suddenly gone. I am struggling every day. I don't know sign language and I don't lip read well. I've gone from a confident person to someone that is scared to leave my house for fear that someone hearing will talk to me and I'll look like a fool. I don't want to have to explain that I can't hear them and have them pity me. I think I'm embarrassed to say I can't hear.

I haven't tried hearing aids. My audiologist suggested that I look into a Cochlear Implant. So that is what I am doing. I had my MRI and CI and I'll know tomorrow if I qualify for implants. I've seen many videos of how happy people are with CI on the internet and I'm wondering if that is real. If I don't qualify I am going to have to learn how to live like this. I am angry a lot and depressed. I'm looking into therapy and hopefully I'll be able to accept this version of me. The more research I do the more I find out that the CI isn't a miracle cure. I guess that is what I was hoping for. Go get it and be hearing again...wrong me. I think the answer is acceptance, but I just don't know how to get there.

You aren't alone but you are lucky to have a community you feel apart of, the Deaf community. I am just learning about this community and right now I don't fit into any community, the hearing or the deaf community. Good luck with everything.

Val
 

LoveBlue

Well-Known Member
#4
Hello,
I see your struggle. I understand what you mean by struggling with deafness. I was very sick a couple of years ago and lost my hearing. My hearing loss was not progressive like yours, it was suddenly gone. I am struggling every day. I don't know sign language and I don't lip read well. I've gone from a confident person to someone that is scared to leave my house for fear that someone hearing will talk to me and I'll look like a fool. I don't want to have to explain that I can't hear them and have them pity me. I think I'm embarrassed to say I can't hear.

I haven't tried hearing aids. My audiologist suggested that I look into a Cochlear Implant. So that is what I am doing. I had my MRI and CI and I'll know tomorrow if I qualify for implants. I've seen many videos of how happy people are with CI on the internet and I'm wondering if that is real. If I don't qualify I am going to have to learn how to live like this. I am angry a lot and depressed. I'm looking into therapy and hopefully I'll be able to accept this version of me. The more research I do the more I find out that the CI isn't a miracle cure. I guess that is what I was hoping for. Go get it and be hearing again...wrong me. I think the answer is acceptance, but I just don't know how to get there.

You aren't alone but you are lucky to have a community you feel apart of, the Deaf community. I am just learning about this community and right now I don't fit into any community, the hearing or the deaf community. Good luck with everything.

Val
Since you had hearing until a few years ago, you have a good, maybe great, chance of hearing well again with a CI. No, it's not a cure, nor perfect, but it's hearing and understanding speech (and hearing environmental sounds, etc). I hope you qualify and have a successful activation.
 

rockin'robin

Well-Known Member
#5
Be assured that those of us who have lost their hearing (as I did...overnight)...and a HA or the CI won't help me at all...we do undy your anger and frustration and depression. At one time, I was a basket case of bitterness and depression over my hearing loss....withdrew and blamed everybody for it...It's a huge adjustment to Life....and how we adapt to it, is up to us....
 

Valorrian

Active Member
#6
Be assured that those of us who have lost their hearing (as I did...overnight)...and a HA or the CI won't help me at all...we do undy your anger and frustration and depression. At one time, I was a basket case of bitterness and depression over my hearing loss....withdrew and blamed everybody for it...It's a huge adjustment to Life....and how we adapt to it, is up to us....
Rockin'robin,
Yes, to all those emotions...anger, depression and frustration. I have been withdrawn for two years since I got sick. I don't go out but to doctor's apts. and that is only recently. My parent are frustrated with me. I think they think that I should be grateful that I'm still alive. I had meningitis and almost died. My parents told me to come to them when I was ready to start living again and they would be there for me. I mean, they have been there for me but I kept pushing them away. At the end of August I went to my mom and asked her for help to start to live again. That's when we went to the audiologist and got a referral to the ENT for a CI.

Today, I went to the ENT for the results to see if I qualify for the CI and it was heartbreaking. I didn't qualify for a CI. It was so overwhelming trying to understand everything he told me. I shut down as soon as he said I didn't qualify. I couldn't even comprehend his explanation of why I didn't qualify. I just wanted out of the office so I could go home and get back into my dark hole of deafness. The ENT referred me to yet another doctor. He thinks I need to see a therapist since I am so angry and depressed. Can I ask you, how did you finally accept your hearing loss? I am fighting with myself every day.
 

goodonya

Well-Known Member
#7
I am glad to see you reaching out.

That is a good sign and you will find your own way with your new set of choices.
It works that way for us older people too. There are so many choices now and they keep coming.

No one likes being cut out of the herd and being forced to be different. That part of the scenario sucks. It wont go away either and you will go through a crapload of changes with it.

When you can muster up some enthusiasm to get on with it doors will open. Maybe fast maybe slow.

Probably not much magic though more like sweat. I am a terrible life coach. You have better ones on your home turf I think.
 

Valorrian

Active Member
#9
I am glad to see you reaching out.

That is a good sign and you will find your own way with your new set of choices.
It works that way for us older people too. There are so many choices now and they keep coming.

No one likes being cut out of the herd and being forced to be different. That part of the scenario sucks. It wont go away either and you will go through a crapload of changes with it.

When you can muster up some enthusiasm to get on with it doors will open. Maybe fast maybe slow.

Probably not much magic though more like sweat. I am a terrible life coach. You have better ones on your home turf I think.
Thanks. I am trying to reach out even if it's just online. One small step at a time for me. I just found out there is a hearing world and a deaf world. Then found out there is a deaf world vs a Deaf world. It is very complicated, all the break downs. I'm kind of overwhelmed with it all and where I will fit in, if I do at all. It is also scary.
 

rockin'robin

Well-Known Member
#10
Rockin'robin,
Yes, to all those emotions...anger, depression and frustration. I have been withdrawn for two years since I got sick. I don't go out but to doctor's apts. and that is only recently. My parent are frustrated with me. I think they think that I should be grateful that I'm still alive. I had meningitis and almost died. My parents told me to come to them when I was ready to start living again and they would be there for me. I mean, they have been there for me but I kept pushing them away. At the end of August I went to my mom and asked her for help to start to live again. That's when we went to the audiologist and got a referral to the ENT for a CI.

Today, I went to the ENT for the results to see if I qualify for the CI and it was heartbreaking. I didn't qualify for a CI. It was so overwhelming trying to understand everything he told me. I shut down as soon as he said I didn't qualify. I couldn't even comprehend his explanation of why I didn't qualify. I just wanted out of the office so I could go home and get back into my dark hole of deafness. The ENT referred me to yet another doctor. He thinks I need to see a therapist since I am so angry and depressed. Can I ask you, how did you finally accept your hearing loss? I am fighting with myself every day.
My answer?...Time...and baby steps...as you adjust to the deaf world. I went thru phrases of crying...and saying/feeling my deafness had ruined my Life...My Love of Music?...dead and gone....I struggled to "be just as good as the hearing people"...worked twice as hard at my Job...carried a "chip on my shoulder" many years... Remember too...it's not the end of the world...there are other people worse off than "us"...You will survive this...have faith and confidence in yourself....It's a Journey you have to take, make the most of it...and keep us members informed how things are progressing with you...rockin'
 

goodonya

Well-Known Member
#12
I was at the check out counter yesterday flirting with the young lady there. She sees me there now and then. Because they are busy there and I don't usually talk much I doubt they know I don't hear them even with the hearing aids. By choosing what I said carefully we had a conversation. Both smiling and talking in the midst of keeping it all going at fast speed. At no time did I know what she said.
My point? There is none. We had fun.
 

deafdyke

Well-Known Member
#16
Although hearing aids can help with the development of speech skills, they do not fix a hearing loss. Relying on hearing aids to be a fix, and only relying on residual hearing causes many issues for me.
While many of my friends are learning ASL, not many people in my life sign with much proficiency. I work online, but my boss and coworkers do not use ASL, nor does my family. For most of the day, I rely on my two hearing aids and ability to lipread to function in mainstream society.
Growing up without sign language and in a mainstream school, set me up for a life where I communicated orally. Unfortunately, this did not set me up to manage my hearing loss as it has continued to worsen as my ability to understand speech has diminished. My entire childhood was focused on sound, using my residual hearing, and my voice. Despite learning ASL and becoming more involved in the Deaf Community, I find myself wishing hearing aids were more of a fix than they are.
Exactly. One wonders if you would be a lot better off if you'd gotten a comprehensive approach from the start. Your post breaks my heart........
 

goodonya

Well-Known Member
#17
Hearing comprehension can be such a variable thing. With my phonaks naida s lll up's they have options that I just cannot use, like the reach out and around sound.
No way I can sort anything but the loudest sound around and the human voice straight at me from four feet and closer.
Even then if those mike pickup covers on the backside of the OTE body are dirty I lose a vital hunk of comprehension. At best of best there are lapses all over. Of course it limits social aspects of my life. To be able to communicate means a lot and humam beings can be ingenius when we need to be.
The qualifier:
Thats me, we are all over the map with
variables of our amazing individuality. :)
 
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peekaboo

Well-Known Member
#19
A hearing aid is not a fix, that's for sure. I got a Beltone for years ... I thought ... meh, I will just upgrade... turns out, it's not even remotely upgraded, but the looks of it is... LOL!!!
I got a blue Phonak thinking it was waterproof, so I was told. NOT true! $2300 for it and it's not even worth it!!!! Just MY opinion on hearing aids.
In this world... we live in a society where we must "fit in"... I am so sick of that phrase.
My hearing seems to have falter throughout the years, but hey... who cares! lol At least I will be the way I was when I was born. lol :rofl:
 
#20
Hearing aids are not a fix. I have progressive hearing loss that is now profound. I have a background in ASL which is helpful but not when others don’t know it. I still have to compensate and put all my energy into a conversation. The hearing aids help and allow me to work in the “hearing work” but I wish I was able to get involved in the Deaf community. That’s just not easy :(
 

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