I am deaf. Well… I’m not really deaf. I was born with unilateral hearing loss. Growing up, the only thing I knew about my ears is that I’m deaf in my left ear. After figuring out what the correct term is, unilateral hearing loss, I looked it up. People with unilateral hearing loss experience social anxiety. I finally understood why I have trouble with being with others. Being with my family didn’t make anything any easier.
My dad was always the one who pushed for me to have surgery. Throughout my life, he constantly asked me if I could hear better. I would always wonder if my father was ashamed of me because I was born this way. But I never asked. I just became more and more self conscious of the fact that I am not normal.
I have a hearing aid, but I don’t wear it. It doesn’t do anything to make my hearing better. It simply irritates me with its beeps. Also, my ears are sensitive, and having something in my ear makes it moist. My hearing aid makes me more susceptible to having an ear infection. Those really hurt. It feels like someone is shoving a needle down my ear and it bleeds ear wax & blood. However, my family always yells at me to put it on, because I’m deaf.
Because I am partially deaf, my speech is weird. I mumble a lot and have a strong slur. I’ve been told that it’s probably because I can’t really hear myself. However, I love to talk. I mean, when I get in the moment, I speak quite a bit. But when I’m not careful, I let my slur pop up. When I speak too long, I start mumbling. I get too self conscious that I’m taking up someone else’s time. My family makes fun of me whenever these things happen. They imitate my slurs and mumbles. I don’t think they mean anything about it, but it makes me feel bad. When speaking to people besides my boyfriend, I get scared. I start saying things that don’t even make sense. Then I get made fun of for that too.
When I’m around strangers, I don’t talk much because of these things. It’s not only that, sometimes I have no idea what the other person is saying. I just nod, because I don’t want to ask them to repeat themselves. The thing I hate the most is having to tell people that I’m deaf in my left ear. They are very understanding of it, but that’s not why I hate it. Eventually, they all always come talk to me from my left side, because they forget. Then I just awkwardly just stand there and nod. Casually, I remind them that I’m deaf on that side and I had no idea what they were talking about. They laugh and say that they forgot.
But they don’t only forget about it once. Everyone forgets about it multiple times.
I’m not deaf, but I’m not a normal person. I feel like I’m always in the middle, the place that no one cares about. Maybe that’s why everyone always forget that I’m deaf in one ear. I look and act normal until they approach my left side. The thing is, me being deaf in my left ear is permanent. I tell people, because it’s not something that can change. I don’t want to be that “hearing impaired girl” but with the way our society does things. I am that girl. I had just hope that I was that “hearing impaired girl that I should speak on the right side of” and not the “oh yea, that hearing impaired girl.”
It’s so weird dealing with this, because one moment I’m normal and then the next I’m disabled. I don’t think I’m considered disabled or normal when it comes to this. However, people see what they want to see.