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American Annals of the Deaf

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Day by Day: The Chronicles of a Hard of Hearing Reporter

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Lori was not alone in this pain. It was difficult for me to imagine not ever hearing your voice nor that of anyone else’s, and having to learn to speak in a language you had never heard. The column, “Hearing-Impaired people have lots of company,” published in 1998, brought a letter that made me cry.
March 15, 1998
Dear Liz,
I read your article with great interest yesterday afternoon in the German Village Gazette. I clipped your article out and put it in my coat pocket to respond to at a later time.

That evening as I was riding with friends to a local restaurant, I asked one to repeat himself as I, too, am hard of hearing. All he responded with was, “Don’t you have your hearing aids turned on?” When he said that, I had never felt so small. It was a slap in the face for me being who and what I am as a hard of hearing person.

At the restaurant, while everyone was chatting away—it was hard to read their lips as the lights were poorly dimmed, I reached into my coat pocket in search of something else when I pulled out your article. I sat there reading and re-reading your words, “You’re not alone.”

I’ve met quite a few other hard of hearing people and wanted us to be able to do things together, but most would rather not. Maybe they didn’t want to be associated with one another. Then again, I do not know.

I would love to be a member of SHHH. My concern is that the meeting might conflict with my work schedule . . . but I would also like to be able to participate in any social functions that the group has to offer.

Thank you for your article and time.

This young man came to the next local SHHH meeting. He was delightful, verbal, and intelligent. He spoke openly about his work and concerns in front of the group. After he spoke, I strongly felt he was going to excel in his life.

I never saw him again, and hope he is doing well. If he reads this book, I hope he writes to me. He showed unusual strength and apparently got the boost he needed to persist in his life.

You’re Not Alone . . . Hearing-Impaired People
Have Lots of Company

March 11, 1998

“I felt alone, like I was the only one.”

Hearing loss has created the largest disability group in the U.S. I would venture to say that those who have accepted their hearing loss and learned to cope with it would not consider it so much a disability as a shifting of gears. It’s a case of refocusing ways to communicate effectively.

Don’t get me wrong, most of us would not choose to be hard of hearing whether we have lost it gradually, over the years, or suddenly due to illness or trauma. But if we have done all we can to improve and protect what hearing we own, then we must learn to focus on what we can do versus what we can’t do.

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