Hearing loss is responsible for the best parts of me

About a year ago, I had a conversation with a parent of a young girl with hearing loss.  She said of her daughter: 

“Hearing loss does not define her.”

I agreed. I think this is true of most people who successfully manage hearing loss.

I thought, however, the statement was incomplete.  From my life experiences I knew there was more. Expanding the statement turned into:

“Hearing loss does not define her, but is inseparable from who she is.  And who she will become.”

 I also know this to be true of most people who successfully manage hearing loss. 

 

Earlier this week, I repeated this statement to a group of 20 parents.

Once again I realized there is still more to say.

Now I would add:

“Hearing loss is responsible for the best parts of me.”

The part of me that is strong.  I’ve had hearing loss since childhood. My hearing deteriorated pretty quickly.  By the time I reached high school, I had a severe to profound hearing loss.  For most of my adult life I’ve struggled with communication. That is, until I got my cochlear implant in 2006.

Life before the cochlear implant was hard.

Life now is incredible. The cochlear implant changed everything for me.

What hasn’t changed:  my strength.  Through my struggles, I’ve gained conviction I can handle whatever comes my way. I have an unshakeable core.

The part of me that has purpose.  My life is inspired by making communication easier for others with hearing loss. I want to help -- both because I received so much help from others; and because so much help is needed.

The part of me that really listens.  Before my cochlear implant, I listened with every fibre of my being. I had to, in order to just understand. I still listen wholeheartedly.  

The part of me that is an Audiologist. I don’t know if I would have chosen Audiology as a career if I had not had exposure to it as a child. My work is intensely rewarding and I work with some incredible people.

The part of me that is happy.  Life is good. Everything I am today is because of what has come before, and hearing loss has shaped those experiences. 

I am grateful.

Dr. Sandra Vandenhoff is an audiologist with hearing loss, founder of HEARaHearing Strategies coach, speaker, and Canadian author, whose other nickname as a child was "Radar Ears."

 

Related post: Dear 16 Year Old Me

Comments