Hey everyone! It’s been a while since I’ve had a guest post on here, but I’m SO excited to announce a collaboration with a good friend of mine!
Karina and I went to university together, and met each other through the Professional Writing program. Karina’s blog Hearing Differently talks about life with a cochlear implant and living with hearing loss. I’m excited for you all to read her story!
You can check out my guest post on her blog here!
You can also check out Karina’s book: Hearing Differently: Growing Up With a Cochlear implant here!
Can’t Hear You, But It’s Fine
I spent my elementary and high school years pretending that I didn’t have hearing loss. I pretended that I could hear all the conversations going on around me, I fake laughed at all the funny jokes I didn’t hear and I struggled with saying that I had hearing loss.
In university, that all changed. All of a sudden, I was forced to face my hearing loss and the impact that it had on my life, and I became all the better for it. When I was younger, my parents and my teachers spoke on my behalf about my hearing loss – so, I never had to. In university, that changed. There was no one to speak on my behalf, it was just me.
There were situations where people pointed out my deaf accent, or when I had to reveal my hearing loss to my professor, or even when my friends were curious about it.
Each time I had to reveal my hearing loss or talk about it to someone, I always felt unexplainably nervous. My heart would pound, and thoughts would race through my head – What if the other person judges me? What if they don’t want to be my friend? What if my professor thinks I won’t do well in class because of it?
So many what ifs. I remember how exhausted I would feel after letting my mind run away with these thoughts. It took me a while to understand what I was feeling each time I had to reveal my hearing loss. I was feeling some level of anxiety.
I felt this same level of anxiety each time I was in a situation where my hearing loss could potentially be a barrier – whether it was participating on a conference call at work or going to a loud restaurant with my friends or when I was online dating and I had to tell the other person about my hearing loss.
During and after my years at university, the more I talked about it (and wrote about it), the easier it became to say that I have hearing loss, and the better I was able to advocate for myself in the type of situations I mentioned above.
That pounding heart, thought racing feeling slowly lessened each time I talked about it. However, I noticed that when it came to confronting an entirely new situation where I wasn’t sure how to overcome the barrier of my hearing loss, that anxious feeling would crop up.
However, if my years at university and the time that came after taught me anything, it was that I am not my hearing impairment, I am whatever I want to be in spite of it.