Hearing Aids Are Not A Fix

Teacherofthedeaf

Active Member
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.
Have you considered an FM system for your instructors?
 

Georgewes

New Member
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
be very careful about a cochlear implant. this was my experience--www.cihorrorstory.com--I don't mean to scare you but just be careful
 
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