I was born. I’m relatively sure of that, having never met another Homo Sapiens Sapiens who was planted in a tomato patch or decanted from a decoction. I don’t remember it, but I have a brother and sister who assure me that I really did come into this world in the usual way. I even have photos of the result a few weeks after arrival, all bound up in blankets and posing with relatives.
Somewhere along the way, when I was about 18 months old, I received a serious head injury that crushed my inner ear and broke the nerve on the left side. I’m lucky I was not totally deafened or killed – it was a severe injury. The injury also affected my hearing in my right ear. In fact, by the time I was in the photo to the left I was already HoH.
No one knew my hearing was compromised until I was about 3 years old. Mom figured it out by doing a “whisper” game. Even then, no one checked my right ear. I don’t remember being fully hearing, so I don’t really miss the loss of bilateral hearing, but I do regret losing what I’ve had. I can now tell the difference, despite the loss being gradual during my adult years.
I’m old enough to remember early mass vaccinations of children against Polio – no sugar cubes then; it was the old shot in the arm routine. Many of my childhood friends wore leg braces or had a limp or a withered arm as a result of Polio.
When I was 8 years old my stated goal was to “know everything.” I’ve not made that goal yet, but I’ve made a good try at it!
I was mainstreamed in school, which is a little good and a little bad. I had problems keeping up and also became good at developing coping skills. Too good. No one knows I’m HoH unless I tell them. I do the “deaf nod” far too often, I also read lips rather imperfectly, and I’m cagy about maximizing my exposure to voices and staying out of situations where noise is overwhelming (which makes me functionally deaf). Without a hearing aid I hear about 1.5 words in three from most speakers, so the fact my brain pieces together conversations is miraculous.
My first real boyfriend was totally deaf and I learned American Sign Language (ASL) from him and the Deaf Community he was a part of. I wonder how he is today, or if he’s even still alive. One never knows. When he moved to Utah I moved away and lost contact with the deaf community, which is sad.
Between then and now I’ve been a mom, a grandma, and worked in all sorts of fields from social services to law. After an accident that broke bones, gave me a closed head injury, and more, I and to retire by necessity. I’m still learning to be functional again. These days I know to ask for an interpreter for the deaf or CART if I need it. I’ve lived from Alaska to Massachusetts, and been to Mexico, Canada, and Australia. I love photography, exercise, and writing…not necessarily in that order.
Getting back to my hearing, I never had a hearing test until I was an adult and took myself to an ENT who told me I’d be totally deaf by age 50 because of my Meniere’s and other various hearing problems – including a damaged nerve on my “good” side that is slowly dying. Yikes! I’ve beaten that estimate, but I’m still told that the hearing is going away, just a bit more slowly than projected. Of course, it helps that technology has improved vastly to enhance what I have left or I’d be hard pressed to cope. It should be noted that I was never fitted with a hearing aid until around 1983 – an old analog one. My brain lost hearing functionality during that time it has never quite regained.
After fits and starts over the years, I’m finally taking ASL seriously. It’s been a year since I started learning. Sign language has changed over time, but I’m gradually getting it. I wanted to know it all RIGHT NOW! Of course, that didn’t happen, but hey, life is a journey, not a destination. 🙂
This started off just being a blog about boomer things, but as a HoH boomer, it has taken on more and more of the flavor of life as the HoH boomer who is someday going to be a member of the oral deaf.
At present I’m hanging out near Dallas, Texas if there are any Hoh Texans reading this.