I was born deaf in my left ear. When I was little my mum realized it when she would go to whisper to me and I’d turn my head all the way around so I could hear her. And all my life I have made adjustments like that…made choices to compensate for not being able to hear.
I would always try to sit near the front of the class and on the left side, then I could hear the teacher and my classmates. Choosing where to sit at the dinner table, especially when going out to eat was always important. I often wonder if I seem rude by staking my claim on a particular chair…but I hate explaining why.
I love going to the movies, but we don’t go that often. I find it hard to justify spending that much money on something I’m only going to get 75% of, if that. Its just easier to wait and watch with captions. Talking on the phone when other people around me are talking is difficult too. My good ear strains to hear their conversations, making it hard to focus on what I’m hearing from the phone. I still keep the habit of sitting near the front at meetings so that I can read lips and catch what I can’t hear.
I didn’t even realize that I was reading lips until about 5 years ago when I had my hearing tested again. In a little box being asked to repeat the words I was hearing…I thought I was rocking it out! Then the lady who was administering the test realized what was going on and put the paper up to cover her mouth. It was drastic the difference it made. Now I make sure to look at people when they are talking so that I can be sure to catch what they say.
But really, I’m not complaining. It is what it is and I have adapted quite well when I stop to think about it. I learned ASL because of my hearing loss and it has been such a gift.
The thing about my disability that makes me uncomfortable is other people’s reactions…
All my life I have been told that I’m too loud. “Shaina you talk too loud.” “God, you laugh so loud!” “Can’t you be quieter?”
And it makes me really uncomfortable. Makes me uneasy sometimes and feel like I can’t just be myself. Makes me wonder what everyone else thinks too.
But I explain it this way: you know when someone is listening to headphones and then they try to talk? They talk way louder than is needed because their perception is skewed. You know what I mean? It’s the same for me…I have no proper gage for what my voice sounds like compared to my surroundings. And that makes others uncomfortable, which makes me uncomfortable. Which is unfortunate.
Perhaps I’m just too sensitive. I don’t know…. I do know that this is one of the reasons why Chris saying he loved my laugh made such an impression on me. He loved me then for who I am, despite my apparent loudness, and he loves me still.
I feel comfortable with him. Isn’t that what love is all about?
“Blog Every Day in May” challenge. Day 3: Things that make you uncomfortable.