"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive." Anaïs Nin

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Part 3 of My Deafness Journey "When Did That Happen?"

I had an appointment with my new doctor about my application for a Hearing Service Dog. Fabulous Husband was able to join me for the appointment, and the clinic actually provided an ASL interpreter for me. She was wonderful and so helpful and informative. I should have asked about these kinds of services a long time ago, but I didn't think my hearing was that bad or that help like this was even available. I was in for some interesting news.

The doctor asked at one point about how well I was functioning with my hearing aids. I was about to answer when Fabulous Husband spoke up and said he had a clearer perception of how they were, or rather, weren't helping me as much as I thought. I did not know that he had noticed I have been losing a lot of sounds lately. I thought I was doing better than I actually am. It was like all those years ago when I went in to get my first pair of hearing aids when I had a moderate loss. 

Fabulous Husband said that even with my hearing aids, I'm not hearing as well as I used to. I did notice that once in awhile things were more difficult to hear, due to allergies, I thought. I had no idea it's gotten to the degree it has. When the doctor mentioned I was his first "deaf patient" and referred to me as "deaf" a couple of times. I said I've been using the term "hearing impaired". He went on to explain that hearing impaired is clinical, but the degree of my loss and ability to function with this loss actually categorizes me as "late deafened". He said "deaf" is accurate and to use this term. "Hearing impaired" implies I hear more than I actually do. I am deaf. 

I have a friend that I am able to discuss a lot of issues I have with hearing, or the lack there of, and she has a great sense of humor. We are able to laugh about the funny side of "not hearing well." She and I were having lunch one day when I described to her how I was nearly run over by people on bicycles in Harrisburg. First, they have no business on the sidewalks. Secondly, I don't hear them coming up behind me, yet when they pass by nearly missing me, I see them say, "What are you, deaf?" Apparently so.

I text to her the day that the doctor said I was deaf and she text back, "No *&^$%*! I hadn't noticed!"  I can see her smiling and writing that text even now.

I'm left at the end of the day with one nagging thought that is dogging me. When did I become deaf and how is it everyone noticed but me?
(first published summer of 2011)

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