Deaf but Wear Hearing Aid in a Hearing Family
If a deaf person wears a hearing aid, are they still considered deaf or are they now considered hard of hearing? That answer depends on the person. It is a personal response. I am deaf and I do wear a hearing aid. I also consider myself deaf. My twin sister is also deaf. In the past, she also wore a hearing aid.
But she will never call herself deaf. She views herself as a hearing person with a hearing problem. About a year ago, she had a cochlear implant and still views herself as a hearing person with a hearing loss. She has zero contact with deaf culture and is 100% involved with the hearing 'world'.
A lost hearing aid
It was over two months ago when it happened... I had gone to bed and I put my hearing aid on the nightstand next to the bed. Normally I put my aid on the dresser along with my glasses but it was one of those evenings I was really tired. I had taken off my glasses and put them on the dresser but I was already in bed when I remembered I hadn't removed my hearing aid.
Oh no .. I was really tired and didn't want to leave my cosy bed. I removed my hearing aid and placed it on the nightstand next to me. That was the last time I saw my hearing aid.
I am blessed to work from home. When I am home by myself, I do not wear my aid. I do not need it being alone all day. If I have to go out, I will wear it. If I have to communicate with hearing people, I depend on my aid to help me. My aid helps with communicating with the public. It makes lip-reading a little easier for me. The day after I put my hearing aid on the bed stand, I did not leave my house all day. I didn't wear my aid that day or even give it any thought. It was the day after that I realized it was missing when I went to put it on.
I searched everywhere for that thing. During the next couple days I did a deep thorough cleaning up of my bedroom. I even rearranged the furniture so everything in that room was touched and moved by my hands. I dumped the clothing in my dresser drawers. Maybe it fell in a drawer? That had happened once before. I needed to go through those drawers anyways so that was a good motivation. No hearing aid.
Cats play soccer with hearing aid?
Two cats share our home. One other time, a year ago, I had failed to put my hearing aid high on the dresser and one or both of the cats played soccer with my aid during the night. In the morning, I found my hearing aid on the living room floor. It was possible the cats did this again and I did search the other rooms in my house as well. No hearing aid.
After a week or so, I eventually stopped looking. Maybe it would show up on its own some day. That happened over two months ago. My hearing aid is still missing. So...I would now live my life as a fully deaf person without the benefit of a hearing aid. With the exception of very low or very high sounds next to my ear, I hear nothing. Has my life been different?
My life as a deaf person with 3 hearing children
One of the first thing I noticed was how hard it was to understand my children. Although they are exposed to ASL at home, they have not made it their second language. They didn't know it but they grew up as CODAs (children of deaf adult). ASL was never their language. I am at fault here as I use my voice when I speak to them. My oldest son lives at college.
At one time when he lived at home, he was a pretty good signer but has probably lost whatever signing he once knew. He remembers some basis words and knows finger spelling but doesn't have many opportunities to use what he knows. He works for McDonalds. He does sign with customers if he sees it is necessary for better communication.
My middle son is 15 and stubborn. I pleaded with him to give me a little help with communication by signing 'something'. It is not fair to expect me to lip-read him 100% while he make no effort to help. He now finger spells words if I stop him in midtalk and ask 'what?'.
It is sad as we are at the point where he only talks to me if he wants something. That always breaks my heart. I cannot force him to talk and learn sign. He doesn't talk much to his hearing father either. He is a quiet boy that keeps mostly to himself. He does have a great sense of humour and fast whit.
My youngest child... my daughter ... she is 12. She signs the most to me. Bless her heart! Along with her dad and myself, she is involved with the deaf ministry called Deaf Cafe. She has many opportunities to sign. For the most part she does sign 'something' when she talks to me. It's still not 100%. It's more around 50% signing and 50% spoken word. She is improving.
Getting back to my hearing aid...
Without the use of a hearing aid, I had to depend on my children's limited signing and my lip reading skills. It is not easy. Many times I feel left out when the three of them (my husband, middle boy and daughter) talk and joke around. I have no idea what is happening. My husband does fill me in but its later after the fact. The final laugh after the joke is already told.
Why is it that it is no longer as funny as the first time around? That was the turning point... I decided I'm going to forget about finding my lost aid and just get a new one. I wanted to be a part of my family again. While I still consider myself deaf, I function best with the use of some hearing.
I do miss the sound and the benefit of amplification. Having a hearing aid does NOT 'fix' my hearing loss but it does help make my life easier when I have to communicate with hearing people who do not know ASL. Some deaf people cannot benefit from hearing aids. Its a personal thing. Because I grew up wearing a hearing aid, I am used to that. Regardless, I remain a deaf person.
About the author:
I grew up Deaf in a hearing world. Attended public schools and hearing college. Married to hearing husband and have three hearing children. Work at home as secretary for my Deaf church as well as my own business on eBay. I grew up 100% lip-reading and only entered Deaf World and learned ASL around 1996 when I was in my mid 30s. Check out my blog for more stories... http://growingupdeaf.blogspot.com/