The Secret Deafie: The girl who wanted coloured hearing aids (and wasn’t allowed to have them)

Posted on November 19, 2012

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Secret Deafie

The Secret Deafie is a series of anonymous columns written by different writers. Today’s Deafie tells us about a life-changing decision she had to make.

It was a very bad day in audiology today. Not for me, but for a girl who looked to be the age of around six or seven waiting with her mother to go into an appointment.

“Mummy, please let me have the pink hearing aids,” she said, swinging her legs off the chair. She was pretty with brown, slightly curly hair which came past her shoulders. Her mum was also quite pretty but oozed pretentiousness throughout the situation.

“I promise I’ll be a good girl,” she continued, “All I want is fairy ears…”

Her mother interrupted before the girl could carry on. “Be quiet, Martha, we need to listen out for your name to be called.”

The little girl sat quietly, still swinging her legs around. She looked at the TV but the mumbling of the news could not keep her distracted for long.

“But mummy, Josh in year two at school has blue hearing aids and says they are like superhero ears! I want to be the same, but with fairy ears! And the nice hearing lady said I could have pink ones if I wanted!”

“Martha, how many times have I told you to be quiet about the fairy ears? You’re a big girl now and you can stick to brown. It blends in with your hair and so everyone thinks you’re normal. Josh’s ears are very nice, but you’re grown up now and all these colours look silly on such big children!”

At this point, I had become so angry and upset at the mother’s attitude that I had to switch my own hearing aids off.

My hearing aids are pink with glitter moulds, blue tubes and butterfly stickers – and I’m eighteen years old. The fact that I can decorate my hearing aids gives me a sense of pride and identity as a young deaf person. It seriously upset me that this little girl could not get the ‘fairy ears’ that she desperately wanted. That small dream would have been in reach had her own mother let her have them.

Instead, her mum, only concerned about appearances, forbid her own child from having the colour and design she so wished for.

To children, having the colour of hearing aids and ear moulds that they want can make all the difference between being confident and proud of who they are or being frustrated. I just wonder whether in the future, this little girl, Martha, will grow up wanting to show her hearing aids, or whether her confidence will be low and she’ll be constantly asking God “Why me?”

Please share your opinions on this situation. What would you say to the mother and the little girl? I certainly know what I’d say, and the mum probably wouldn’t like it!

Do you have a story or experience you’d like to share? If you’d like to write a Secret Deafie column, just email thelimpingchicken@gmail.com

The Limping Chicken is supported by Deaf media company Remark!, provider of sign language services Deaf Umbrella, and the RAD Deaf Law Centre.