Tuesday, 15 July 2014

CAN… YOU… HEAR… ME?!!

Reader Blue tells us what it's like to grow up deaf… 

Blue says:
I've been deaf since I was two; apparently the only case of deafness caused by chicken pox that any of my audiologists had ever come across. I got my hearing aids when I was five because people kept assuming I was ignoring them when actually it was just that I couldn't hear them. Growing up deaf wasn't too different from growing up hearing (I imagine!) except that my teachers had to be informed and instructed to speak up around me and to face me so that I could lipread. My hearing aids amplify speech, but also all background noises too, so I partially rely on lipreading as well. I also got taken out of class every few weeks to meet with a 'deaf teacher'. I think this was like speech therapy but my memory's a bit fuzzy! 
I got speech therapy outside school too, so my accent is a bit mixed up and perhaps because of this I got horrendously bullied for my voice throughout school. It made me very self-conscious when speaking in public. On the rare occasions I did speak, someone would repeat what I said with a deliberate lisp and I got cruel comments about how I spoke. In spite of this, I don't feel ashamed of being deaf - the bullies would have found something to pick on. Besides, as you can see from the picture, neither deafness nor bullying stopped me from being happy as a child… perhaps those things have actually made me who I am today, in a funny kind of a way.
My hearing aids are great, but I do worry about my batteries running out. The batteries died before my French listening prelim exam in S4 which, as you can imagine, was immensely problematic. I try and keep batteries on me at all times these days, for emergencies. I also can't wear my hearing aids near water, so swimming can be difficult. When I went swimming with my class in P7, the instructor kept leaning towards me saying: 'CAN… YOU… HEAR… ME?!!' Hmmm. I suppose she was doing her best but my mind works fine, it's my ears that don't work - I don't enjoy being treated like I'm stupid.
Sometimes I do wish I could hear just like everyone else, but those moments are fleeting. Everyone is different… being deaf is a part of who I am. Besides, my hearing aids are wicked! They're red with red and black patterned moulds. There's even a hole in the moulds to improve air circulation… they're practical and they look awesome. How can that be a bad thing?

Cathy says:
I love Blue's positive, can-do attitude - she's a great role model for anyone with a hearing impairment, because she's proof that it doesn't have to stop you from doing whatever you want to! COMMENT BELOW if you'd like to say something to Blue, or if you'd like to share YOUR own experience of living with a health issue.


11 comments:

  1. I have groown up partially deaf in my ears because my ear drums were damaged when i got my grommets and made it harder to hear. Everytime i went swimming with school it was really annoying as the instructor used to always kneel down to me and yell in my and talk slowly like i was stupid but mostly now people don't tease me now for not being able to hear well. Blondie

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    1. I'm glad you don't get picked on anymore. It was the same with me, the bullying died down when I was 13 or so with only the odd comment or so after that until people realised my brother was fiercely protective and also smarter and stronger than them. The last time I was mocked for my deafness was at college when some people asked for directions although I didn't hear them the first time. I'd been listening to music so I looked blankly at them and tried to get my hearing aids out of my pocket. They assumed I was just weird and started laughing at me and then, when I got my hearing aids out and they realised they'd been laughing at a deaf girl for not being able to hear, they looked horrified. They repeated their request for directions, I gave them said directions and they scurried away, red-faced. I don't know why people treat us like we're dumb because we can't hear. I mean, if we didn't hear a word the first time, leaving a long pause before saying the next word isn't going to make us magically hear the word we missed. And what's with the kneeling down? We're not toddlers, as long as they face us, we can lipread just fine.
      Blue. :-)

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    2. Thanks. :0

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  2. It's pretty damn absurd if people treat you as if you're dumb... I've read quite a few posts by Blue, and she struck me as being particularly sharp!!!! Oh, and I also have to mention, her hair is just freaking awesome!! - Lauren

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    1. Thank you - both for noticing my sparkling intelligence and wit and for complimenting my hair. That's so kind of you although I do worry about people who DON'T like my hair!
      Blue. :-)

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  3. With Blue all the way! It's sooo agitating when people treat you like you're different. I've had really bad eczema from when I was 3 months old. Every time I go somewhere with short sleeves I get people asking me about it and whether it's painful and all the questions I hate to answer. I used to hide under my jumper in PE just to get away from that. I'm only just breaking out of my nervousness now. I know eczema is common and there's nothing to really be ashamed of. And people don't bother me that much anymore. Everyone has that little thing that's different. We should all embrace it! :o)

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    1. i have excema too ever since i was born and i'm just the same asyou but nowadays i don't let it get to me. :) Blondie

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  4. Blue I love your hair... your also such an inspiration!!!!! People can be sooo rude!!!! Also my brother has excema and it isn't something to be laughed and it is sooo common!!! Deirbhile:)xx

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  5. they shouldn't treat you like u are stupid cause as far as i know, u are an absolute genius at grammar (well u are to me anyway, because i can't make head or tail of ur proofreading corrections- though in a GOOD way.) oh, yeah, i love the shades of blue ur hair is! lucy :)

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  6. i have exzima but i never get teased about it because so many people have it, i got bullied about other things but i dont think i will ever be seeing the bullies again. i used to have rash on my 2 hands, face and neck. i dont have exzima at the moment. it is not bad exzima. so i am fine! lucy

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  7. Ur such an inspiration blue! Ur style is amazing and I have no idea why anybody would ever pick on u for ur hearing coz ur amazing! Hamdi:)xxx

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