After a long week at work, my work team and I met for a delicious dinner on Friday night before our evening class. It was so much fun chatting with the ladies while eating a delicious meal. We all went to Phoenix Children’s Hospital to attend an audiology seminar. I saw so many familiar faces, current and former families from our school. It was interesting learning the latest developments on an audiology process, comparisons with hearing aids, Cochlear and both (one hearing aid/1 Cochlear), and oral and sign language comparisons. When we got to the comparisons, I thought “Why am I here? I should not be here” because I have one cochlear implant and it was a strange feeling to be part of their statistics. It is not like I don't want my other ear to hear, I have health insurance issues. It is very common with other patients as we discussed health care issues. An interesting fact that was presenset was“ If a child is using technology for only 4 hours/day, it will take 6 hours for the child to hear what a typically hearing child hears in one year”.
Towards to end, we watched a documentary, a film that interviewed several Deaf people. They were just like me!! They all wore their body hearing aids back in late 1970s-1980s before cool hearing aids came out. Then getting a cochlear implant later on, I started to have tears. We all have nasal speech or some kind of accent due to later implanted life compared to toddlers having cochlear implant or auditory training. Minutes went by, more tears because it was exactly what I went through- social life growing up, me discovering my deafness more by other people asking me or learning about my deafness, personal life at home, school life advocating for my needs in High school and College years, parenting: my daughter and I learning how to communicate with each other while she was learning about my deafness, and work experiences by getting discriminated at interviews and communication experiences. It was emotionally exhausting to have flashback of memories and exciting at the same time to be able to relate these people. Life will always be hard. For hearing and non hearing, no matter what. I choose joy at times like this.
I told my daughter that I was crying at class (quietly) because my life was and is hard with my deafness and the children who have the latest technology and more resources are doing so much more amazing and will have less struggles. We were out the following night talking, when I blurted out “beauty school” as “booty school” pronunciation. Someone dear to us corrected me and she immediately started crying and was protecting me by saying “My mommy is deaf, she works hard, don't make fun of her!” I assured everyone that it’s okay because my mother and family still correct me sometimes, it comes from love. It shows how protective she is of me and how she’s aware of my deafness and my struggles. (That...melts… my heart.)
Hearing Impaired single mother and teacher aide at a hearing impaired oral preschool program. An author of "Turn The Lights On, I Cant Hear You".