Walk a mile in my shoes and you will begin to understand how I feel about my hearing impairment. But, until you do, do not tell me that being hearing impaired is not as complicated as being totally deaf.

I realize this statement sounds defensive but this is how I feel. I am always defending my disability against ignorant people who know nothing about hearing impairment and or what it is like to be totally deaf.

It is frightening, frustrating, sometimes it can be a lonely situation as well. You learn to cope and survive, but you still carry the pain and anger inside. Some turn their impairment into a positive while others, such as me, somehow fall between the cracks of Society and shut down mentally and physically. Negative seems to be the only easy way out. I hate my impairment and what I have allowed it to do to me.

Naturally, things have changed since those statements written several years ago. Since then I have obtained a Baha implant (an implant from the Cochlear implant family). My hearing has improved with the device but I am still  severely hearing impaired without it. I could not be without this and I thank my lucky stars to be able to have such a device since I cannot wear hearing aides. I would be lost without this and will fight tooth and nail to never have to go back to the way I was.

It is a hearing world and people can be so cruel and impatient towards anyone who is hearing impaired or carries the burden of any type of disability. I spent almost thirteen years isolated from society because I could not deal with the daily struggles this impairment imposed on me. Not only did I have trouble dealing with this, but others did as well and that was even worse for me.

We as a society take so much for granted on a daily basis. Sights, sounds, smells and touch is apart of our daily living. Try taking one of those away and see how you cope with the loss. Now imagine what it would be like to watch your hearing disappear a little at a time and there is nothing you can do to stop it.

Imagine what it would be like to never hear an airplane fly overhead, to hear the birds chirping early in the morning, to hear thunder or the rain dancing upon the window pane, or to be standing in a parking lot and someone walks up behind you and you hear nothing but you suddenly see their shadow and your heart stops. You can’t hear when your car’s engine starts acting up, or the cries of a baby or child, or an ambulance coming across an intersection that you are about to cross, causing you to slam on your brakes to avoid a collision. These occurrences have happened to me many times throughout the years and I cannot express enough how life is taken for granted by many in so many ways.

All I ask is that you not dismiss my disability as not being a disability at all. I may be hearing impaired but I would much rather be totally deaf then to sit here and watch it wither slowly away.

All I ask is that you have patience, that you have consideration and the knowledge to kindly acknowledge those with disabilities. I didn’t ask for this to happen to me and when you walk a mile in my shoes, maybe you would understand it better and not be so judgmental.

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