Mahnoor Sultan: “It wasn’t until I opened up about my hearing loss that I was able to overcome it”

Posted on October 13, 2014

“Sorry? I couldn’t hear what you just said. Mind repeating that again this time?”

“Wait. Could you switch off the fan? Really didn’t understand a word you just said.”

These lines were my catchphrases for many years.

I was born with sensorineural hearing loss. My discovery was made aged 5 when I eagerly ran to pick up the telephone only to hear a load of gibberish on the other side.

Although I had a clear idea of hearing loss and hearing aids, I kept quiet about this for a very long time till I got my own.

I understand any child can experience bullying, however, as a child often seen asking people to repeat themselves numerous times I was more vulnerable.

I would be sworn at by purpose in my right ear and then laughed at – or see children mouth obscene things to me or simply get cornered, demanded to know why I was ‘weird’.

I also had my hearing aid suddenly flung out my ear from behind. Children were cruel and I was emotionally intimidated.

1025340_603790052995278_611951467_oMy bad past experiences and insecurities led to me take off my hearing aid and break it when I was in secondary school- vowing to never return to it again (I realise now that it wasn’t the brightest and most sensible thing to do).

I figured I could work with one ear- easy peasy. Soon my left ear did my right ear’s work too for the many years. Little did I know, this wouldn’t last for long, as hiding it became more difficult with time.

There were many moments when I felt incredibly down because of my ears- usually in group conversations and with friends.

The moment I figured out what was being said and by who, I had missed out not only the words being spoken but pretty much the whole topic of discussion.

It was like a desperate battle to decodify frequencies as quickly as possible. My urge to be able to understand was more strong than my urge to be able to hear.

The frustration of being stuck between two worlds gradually built up, whether it was at home, in a lecture or out with friends. I knew I had to go back to wearing hearing aids and the thought was daunting.

I respected people who wore them and used sign language. I was also in awe of their confidence and positive morale.

However for me, the past blew up in my face and I was insanely anxious the whole time till I got my CROS aids fit in.

10666201_576208022490813_2141771701_nAnd boy was I glad I did (Although the unpleasant amplification of sounds made me want to scream at everyone and everything the first few days). It was overwhelmingly amazing to be able to hear the same as someone who receives sounds from both ears again. *happy tears*

It wasn’t until I slowly opened up about my hearing loss to my near and dear ones, that I was able to overcome it.

Now at the age of 20 and in university- I finally understand that it is more of a blessing than a curse (plus the many sneaky advantages its brings too).

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve started to wear them again and this time around, I’m extremely proud and pleasantly relaxed.

Though I learned to accept myself the long way, it was definitely worth it at the end.

Needless to say, I still wish I could go back in time, slap sense into myself and realise that this really wasn’t as hard as I had thought it to be.

Mahnoor is a ridiculously cheesy, usually happy, book sniffing law student. She is passionate about charity work, travelling and making others smile.

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Posted in: Mahnoor Sultan