I cannot say that school was and is easy for me. Because of my hearing impairment I question the information that is being delivered. My desire to attend school and push through my physical abilities is to obtain more knowledge in a desired area. I’m currently attending my fifth college; it has been a trial and error college experience to get where I am. My third school was to achieve a Massage Therapists degree. This degree took dedication to accomplish, but my interest in the subject helped immensely. I am currently attending Everglades University for degree in Alternative Medicine. Educating myself then others on natural approaches to health is my objective.
My hearing impairment was diagnosed at the age of 3. I wear two hearing aids, and in grade school wore a special phonics hear. The phonics hear came with a microphone that the professor would wear. This made their voices clearer and louder than other classroom noise.The phonics ear was a big hit with the other kids, they wanted one too. One year my classmate’s mothers called my mom stating their kids wanted hearing aids for Christmas. This helped greatly with my embarrassment in wearing a huge piece of equipment. I am now 32, so imagine technology from the early 1990’s. If I didn’t use this tool I missed a lot of information. I used a recorder in classrooms to review at home, but the quality of sound was still hard to hear. Reading lips helps but this is only if I can see the lips moving. If the person’s lips aren’t moving and they are notclear or loud enough, I miss a lot of information. I took speech classes in grade school, which has helped a lot for my future learning. I am old enough to know that my brain only hears certain letters. I repeat what was told to me, confirming that what I heard was correct.
When I started college, this was big struggle. I had to be proactive in my learning experience. This was hard because I had a sense of ‘too hard to hear’ mentality. If my hearing aids aren’t working at their optimal level I struggle to hear. Working harder to hear can give me headaches and I lose desire to listen.I can’t learn anything new if I’m not even listening. My mind is like a computer. When I am told information, it takes a few seconds to compute what was said and reply appropriately. This is with all information, old or new. When learning new words and concepts it takes longer to understand.I have found that if I communicate my impairment people are receptive and understanding. Since being in school now I repeat what the professor has said. This gives me confirmation that the information and instructions I heard are correct. Years ago, the class was playing a Taboo type game. The word to guess was CASKET, the clue ‘You put died people in it…’. A student shouted out the answer and won a point. My response was, ‘why would you put a died person in a BASKET?’. What I thought was said was incorrect. When learning, a new subject this can bring challenges. All subject’s words are foreign, if what I hear and what is said are both could be new I don’t know the true word.My biggest challenge in not hearing is myself. If I am not proactive in asking for help professors can’t help me.
I find that when the subject interests me I will overcome hearing obstacles to learn. When the desire to know more today than I did yesterday exist. Being honest that I may need the professor to slow down or speak louder. Professors are in the business to pass on knowledge, this can and should be tailored to range of students. I am close to graduating and love the degree I am receiving. With this grand opportunity to learn more came with challenges.
One of which is finances. Therefore, I am telling my hearing impairment story in hopes to help finance the desire for knowledge. To learn more today than I knew yesterday.