I joined the U.S. Air Force when I was 23 years old and recently retired at 44. While in the Air Force, I obtained my Associates degree but I am now continuing my education to obtain my Bachelors degree. I was an aircraft electrical environmental specialist the first 10 ½ years I was in the Air Force. During this time, I wore protective devices to protect my ears from the loud aircraft engines I worked on daily. However, I have obtained permanent hearing loss due to these aircraft engines and several other factors my physicians are pursuing. I am pursing disability due to this but was informed it will be 8-12 months before a decision will be made. I do get assistance through the post 911 GI bill but it doesn’t cover the cost of living, tuition and books and supplies.
My hearing loss has gotten worse over the past few years and has made continuing my education difficult. Sitting in class was difficult when obtaining my Associates degree and now that I am obtaining my Bachelors it is all but impossible. I learned over the years to read body language and lips a little. That along with being able to understand a word here and there got me through. I relied on reading the material and studying diligently to graduate. Taking notes that our professors or instructors gave during class was impossible. Sometimes I was able to borrow notes from someone and that would help too. I resorted to taking online classes because it was much easier and less stressful than a classroom setting due to my hearing loss.
I just recently was fitted with hearing aids and am adjusting nicely. I am still taking online classes because of the rural area we live in. I understand the difficulties and hardships individuals go through that have hearing loss or those that are deaf. I have great admiration for those who fulfill their dreams and obtain a college degree.
I have overcome some adversities in my life due to hearing loss and stuttering and want to give back to our community and our youth today. Upon graduation, I plan to teach JROTC at a local high school. I want to try and be a positive influence and role model for our youth today and for those that suffer an impairment. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Larry N, II