Halfway into reading her entry, I was star-strucked. I had to read it twice to realized/understand that what I am reading was an entry about a device I, myself, loathed and deemed it "hideous and an embarrassment to wear in public." Yet, here's an entry from a person who sees the device as a "nurturing tool."
This particular entry made me asked myself:
"How did I missed the real beauty of this device from 20 years ago until now? How did I ever let myself become blinded because of others ignorance, from all the possibilities this "nurturing tool" can bring?"
Thanks to her entry. Her appreciative words over this miraculous hearing tool helped me open my heart and mind.
My hearing is deteriorating. My last hearing checked up was in 1997. Yet, this memory is so vivid as if it is just happening at the moment--- the exact words of this lady ear doctor after she finished testing my hearing were..."you have a nerve hearing loss and overtime it will get worse as you get older. There's is no surgery for this kind of hearing loss. There's nothing that can be done."
My young family was with me. As my husband drove us all home, I cried all the way. I was mad at the world and everyone, hated myself and blamed HIM. "Why me? Why this have to happened to me? oh God..please do not let this happen to my children. I don't want them to feel what I feel or go through what I go through because of this unforgiving, shameful disability..."
I never went back to have my hearing check again. I gave up on that fact about my hearing issues. I let the diagnosis overpowered what I can really do or what I could have become. I unconsciously allowed myself to became content to be seen as a "very shy person"...though inside---I love to be with people, love parties, love to go out and love to have good fun. Back then though, I didn't really fully read lips or learn to use sign language. But I soon started to used my other senses to make up what my hearing cannot do. I unconsciously started hearing others through their "body language" that developed to a full blown distrusts of their actions that only my eyes can see.
My emotions goes where and what my eyes can see.
Incidents like people laughing while I'm at a distance or where I can only hear "mumbles" (even though they're talking on the normal level that they can hear) made me jumped into conclusions that they're laughing at or talking bad about me. I unconsciously slowly started to distance myself to the point I ended up working alone on a variety of jobs for seven years.
I would hear ringing in my ears as the years go by. Sometimes I hear it more often than usual. More than half the times, I don't hear that disturbing noises. But everytime I do reminds me that I'm very slowly losing my hearing---the more I did not want to face it.
I have the hearing device...to help me hear a little more of my world. I despised it and have always been embarrassed to use it in public. The earliest diagnosis was when I was in high school.
The first time I used it felt like a whole new world opened to me, I can hear the whole world around me. I was smiling that I can hear more, that I can hear the people whispering or talking low, and was so delighted when I realized I can hear the phone ringing from the other room!
But somehow, that euphoric experienced did not last for me.
The closest friend in Sophomore years I knew and counted on, taunted me and laughed at me when they saw what was behind my ear. Before I could explain that I'm not totally deaf but have a partial hearing loss, they'd gasped & exclaimed: "You're deaf?!" as young, naive and vulnerable as I was, I didn't know how to answer or what to say---I didn't understand why they were asking...all the reactions that registered to my mind were the look on their faces and the loud taunting of laughing and pointing to my ear as if it was a shame to be seen wearing a hearing device.
I didn't immediately had anyone to go to, to talk to about my broken hope and hurt feelings of being laughed at because I was wearing a hearing aid. My mom was no help, she never knew what it felt like to me that day. I couldn't talk to her. She was so busy struggling to raise me and my sister trying to keep a roof over our head. I was raised to understand her first and what she was doing for us. But I cannot come to her to help me understand about the kind of people I just encountered.
I knew what the hearing device can do. It does wonders to people like me. But I was already shamed very early on because of it. In the coming days, I'd wear it in hiding but the wind always blew my hair off the side and the device would be open for everyone to see...and unsuspecting kids my age would questions of what it is and why.
Those moments made me realized that I have a personal issues that I'd rather not share or explain to anyone...but I never knew what to say to them or more perhaps, didn't know how to defend myself from lurking eyes.
I decided that it is embarrassing that I have hearing loss. That I dare not wear hearing device again if I want my "friends" not to laugh at me.
This miraculous device took a backseat from then on. I got a new one in my mid-twenties which I slightly used because I still carried the scar of shame. Then in 2000, as I was starting to understand the importance of the hearing device for my sake and my family, I started to used it sparingly and slowly convinced myself that wearing it is for my own good.
But a 2003 4th of July evening celebration turned into hatred of this device when a lady neighbor, walked up to me, self-invited herself to brushed my hair off of the side, lean to me and yelled to my ear and said: "which ear can't you hear?!" I was shocked, furious and humiliated in front of a crowd that I couldn't answer her. Feeling the stabbed in my heart, I didn't answer, smiled quietly and walked home.
That's when I finally put the hearing device to rest. I told myself I would never pick it up again.
Yet, it never stray far from my mind. I knew I have to use it someday. I didn't know how soon. But lately, I'm starting to wonder.
A few days ago, for the first time in years, I got a postcard invitation from the lady who took my hearing test. It was an invitation to see and test the latest hearing device. The smallest one that no one would even notice. It made me think about it.
Then I read Indigo's entry.
I swear while reading it, just felt like it was the device talking to me....finding its way for me to reconsider the benefits by understanding Indigo's entry, as if telling me what I have been missing all these years.
(Do you believe in fate, miracles or chances?)
I believe this is one of those.
I guess it's time to reconnect with this long lost friend and not take its company for granted anymore.
Thank you SO much, Indigo.