hearing impairment, parenting, second language

Can you hear me now?

Most likely no.  I have a bilateral mild to severe hearing impairment.  It is all I have ever known.  At 2 weeks, I contracted Bacterial Meningitis and spent a month in a hospital battling the illness.  Most likely my hearing impairment is a direct result of Meningitis and the treatment I received at that young age.

I am a parent, wife, teacher, and friend.  Most times, I can hear, enjoy, and participate in general conversations.  That said, I miss stuff.  All the time.  I mishear stuff.  Often.

Years of experience has taught me to ask people to repeat themselves, read faces and body language, watch faces and lips, and most importantly WORK at hearing.  And it is not easy.  Many days by the time dinner rolls around, the Tinnitus in my ears sounds very much like a freight train laying on the whistle, constantly.

A few things most people do not understand.   Whispering to me is like a trying to play telephone with a toddler.  I will not get most of what you are saying.  Next, if I have a confused look, please repeat yourself.  Sometimes, I just give up and do not try for clarification.    A few times people will say, if you didn’t understand, why didn’t you ask me to repeat?  Um, sometimes I mishear.  Occasionally words sound alike and I get misinformation from what I hear.  I may be aware that I misheard, but other times, I have no clue that I took in the wrong information.  So please do not get upset with me.  Bars, gyms, dance clubs, or loud areas are difficult.  Sound is coming from so many angles that I feel like I’m standing in a train switching yard and do not know where to turn. In these environments, I may have trouble matching voices to faces.  English sometimes sounds like a foreign langauge and foreign languages sound like Dory from Finding Nemo.  Lastly, water and I have a love/hate relationship.  While I love being in and around water, my hearing aids do not.  That means while I am swimming, lounging by the pool, or splashing with the kids, my hearing sidekicks are not enjoying this.  So I am like a fish out of the water.  But in the water.

Please ask questions, seek clarification, or lend an ear (pun intended), because living with a hearing impairment is exhausting and I could sure use some help once in a while.

my bff’s