The Secret Deafie is a series of anonymous columns written by different writers. This one comes from a Deaf man who has tried internet dating…
I was born profoundly deaf. My parents found out when I was only 2 years old, having not responded to my name being called but to a thumping foot vibration on the floor.
At that point, my parents realized I was deaf and took me to an audiologist and it was confirmed. The audiologist offered cochlear implants and my mom refused and left.
She bought a book to learn Sign Exact English (SEE) so she could teach me how to communicate with her early on. I learned ASL when I got older because my mom did not like ASL; she preferred SEE at home only.
When I entered mainstreamed elementary school, I was forced to wear hearing aids that were strapped to my chest. My parents also bought me hearing aids to wear at home when I was not in school.
I grew up, remembering all these crazy vibrations blasting into my ears. Often times, it’d make me feel like my head was a maracas (balls booming around inside my head causing too much vibrations and no sounds). I hated experiencing it all the time and trying to focus on my interpreter signing while feeling the vibrations from the teacher’s voice.
I started refusing to wear hearing aids at home as I got older. My mom asked me why I did not want to wear them and I said it bothered me. She understood my frustration and decided to let me not wear hearing aids anymore at home. I am thankful to have a wonderful mom who wants to make sure I’m happy.
However, I worethe l hearing aids strapped to my chest in elementary school until I entered middle school.
My first year in middle school, I finally had to stand up for myself and call it quits. I told my teacher I wanted to stop wearing it. She was shocked and told me she couldn’t let me do that because she believed it helped me pass classes.
This led to a parent and teacher meeting to discuss this issue and I was there in the meeting with both of them. I explained to them that I couldn’t hear a thing and all I feel was vibrations.
It annoyed me so much – I knew I did not really need it.
My mom debated pretty hard about this issue with the teacher and it caused the teacher to burst into tears! Finally, at the end, both agreed to let me stop wearing hearing aids for a month to see how my grades were doing.
I was doing really well in classes with my interpreter and passed with A’s and B’s. It totally shut up my teacher and she finally let me go without hearing aids ever since.
Of course, the other deaf kids at school were jealous of me and asked me how I did it. I simply told them that I cannot hear at all and I don’t really need it. Most of them were hard-of-hearing and can hear a little bit so they needed hearing aids more than I do.
After this incident, I did very well and graduated from high school. Then I attended college and graduated with Bachelor’s Degree with High Honors. I currently have a good job. All of this without hearing aids!
I hope my story inspires you to think twice and understand that hearing aids are not really for everyone. It may help others hear better but it did not for me, so there was no point for me to wear one.
Do you have a story or experience you’d like to share? If you’d like to write a Secret Deafie column, just email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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