It all started when I was a young boy and suffered with Glue Ear. I ended up having grommets in both ears. Then later down the line, as a teenager, I ended up with a perforated eardrum, which then had to be repaired by taking some skin from behind my ear, which was then stitched onto my eardrum. Because of all of this, plus my parents being deaf, I am meant to have hearing tests every year. Fast forward to 2019, it had been 14 years since I last had a hearing test.
In the last few months, a few of my loved ones have been noticing that I have been asking them to repeat what they said a lot more. My other half put it down to ignorance (which wouldn’t surprise me!) However, I started to feel really self conscious about the matter, and tried to hide it as much as I could. I felt like I was being a burden by asking people to repeat. I didn’t want to accept the fact my hearing wasn’t good.
Finally, I arranged to have my first hearing test in over a decade, and was told by the audiologist that my hearing is at a moderate hearing loss, and with that, it will only get worse over time. Eventually I’ll need hearing aids, and it could get worse than that. Initially I felt my heart drop straight into my stomach. I kept thinking ‘I’m not going to be able to hear properly again!’
For days after, I lost a lot of sleep – worrying about the deterioration of my hearing. I kept worrying about the impact it’s going to have on my life. The uncertainty of what is actually going to happen, and when it’s going to happen. All of this was eating up my energy and motivation to do anything. I decided I didn’t want to talk about it, think about it or hear about it. I just wanted to get on with my ‘normal’ day to day life. Ignoring the fact that my hearing was going.
However, in the back of my mind I knew it was there, and I kept asking people to repeat what they were saying, which naturally brought it back to the forefront of my mind. I couldn’t get away from this problem, I decided I had to face it dead on.
Now I have started to come to terms with it, and I have just learnt to accept that eventually I will struggle to hear without any assistance. I am in a much better position than a lot of people, as I already know Sign Language, and I’ve got lots and lots of connections within the Deaf community. I’m not alone in this, I have friends and family who have knowledge in this, and a great support network within this circle. This is a brand new step in my life, and instead of being scared and worried, I have to face this head on and continue to enjoy my life in the meantime.
I’d love to hear about your similar stories, and how you dealt with things. Would you do things differently? Have you got advice for anyone else going through a similar experience? Drop a comment below.