My Story of being Hard of Hearing

Hello, my name is Zoei Porter, and I am Hard of Hearing. My primary language is American Sign Language (ASL) and secondary is English. A hearing loss is when someone loses a hearing in the ear(s) and causes deafness. I wasn’t born with hearing loss, which is weird but was diagnosed at three years old. My hearing loss is genetic on my father’s side. My right ear is mild to severe and my left ear is severe to profound which requires me to wear hearing aids. Prior to being diagnosed, unable to speak for the first three years of my life, tubes were placed in my ears and had to be worn. My mom took me to speech therapy where I can learn how to talk which improved within that first year. I went from mute to signing ASL.

Hearing aids might be cool to wear, however, it’s a lot of responsibility like cleaning the mold, having the case handy to protect the aids when you want to take them off, and very costly if it’s lost or damaged. Truthfully, I never thought how it’ll be like to be Hard of Hearing until becoming a teenager. What I mean is basically I thought hearing aids was a “toy” until the realization of the responsibilites. The use of hearing aids is to hear and understand people better because without them, it would be a huge communication barrier.

However, I must admit at times I feel embarrassed to wear my hearing aids because some people make fun of me and I feel betrayed because I don’t understand what they’re saying. I frequently go into “mute” mode around new people who I don’t know, but am talkative around people I trust such as my family. I can’t imagine living without my hearing aids because I probably wouldn’t have a chance to hear any sounds and continued to struggle with my family as well as others communication barrier. I’ve been asked, “How hearing aids has helped you and others can learn to be inspired by you?” I’ve found hearing aids to be inspiring simply due to how much it attracts others. People are fascinated because they usually can’t see or tell I’m wearing it because I can speak and sign at the same time. I hope my inspiration will help others learn that in this big world of ours, being unique and different , in fact have set me apart and I’m loving it! It’s okay to be different which I find ASL to be shown as a free-spirit of emotions and feelings by using facial expressions. American Sign Language rocks!! LOVE IS LUV!

-Zoei P.

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