I never expected my children to be my greatest teachers, but seeing myself reflected in their eyes showed me the path I needed to take to overcome my struggles with hearing loss.
When I became a parent I was still in denial about my hearing loss, even though it had started almost 10 years prior. My father also had hearing loss, but never discussed it. I remember him actively hiding it from friends and even family when I was a child. We all knew — it is a very hard thing to hide — but it was never discussed. An unmentionable.
My family was not supportive of him. My mother would whisper comments to my sister and me behind his back. When we asked her about it she would reply, “Don’t worry, he can’t hear us.” This behavior taught me that hearing loss was something shameful and that my father should not expect any help from the family to help him cope. I look back on our behavior with regret.
So when I began having trouble hearing as an adult, I was horrified, and ashamed. I hid it the best I could, following in my father’s footsteps. I rarely disclosed it, and refused to wear my hearing aids any more than absolutely necessary.
But then I had children.
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