For a long time, I have struggled with my hearing but never mentioned it because it doesn't bother me in the slightest. After returning from Hong Kong last year, I realised it was about time I did something about it.
At preschool, I would bite the other children (sorry, playmates) as I would get frustrated that I couldn't hear them and get involved. My parents noticed a problem when my speech wasn't developing. At the age of 3, I was diagnosed with Glue Ear, which is blockage in your ears. When I was 5, the audiologists said I had self-taught myself to lip-read. From the age of 3-15, I had eight pars of grommets, which are tiny plastic tubes that are put in the eardrum to allow air to circulate in the middle ear. I also had two pair of hearing aids. I also had ten years of speech and language therapy so thank you to the lovely NHS! After moving regions, I was discharged from the hospital and I didn't seek further help, which was a really bad move.
After my hearing test last December, the audiologist said I had low hearing in both ears and there is permanent scarring. I now hearing aids which I was SO excited to receive because I had done a fair bit of research and all the effects of hearing loss explains so much to me.
One effect of hearing loss is concentration fatigue. Concentration Fatigue is when you have overused the brain's inhibitory attention mechanisms. Concentration Fatigue is normally caused when a person finds concentrating hard work. In terms of deaf people, they often suffer from concentration fatigue, as they have to pay more attention than other people with typical hearing levels, as they have to make more use of their cognitive resources, in listening and lip-reading.
During my degree, I have struggled so much as I find lectures so hard to focus in. I was very lucky because the law school would record their lectures so I could easily catch up online. Whilst this didn't compensate for being in the actual lecture, it was a good compromise. It also meant that I could be in my lectures from the comfort of my own bed!
I have recently started full-time work and I have now understood just how concentration fatigue impacts me. I always have to take out my hearing aids for a while after lunch to give my ears a rest. The world is frankly a loud place and sometimes, I like it being a bit more peaceful and being in my own bubble.
Having said that, I am extremely thankful that I have hearing aids because they make it a little bit easier and for someone who eventually wants a career in law, I need to be able to understand and listen to my clients. Concentration fatigue is only one of the consequences of being deaf and there are many more that I could list. However, I wouldn't want perfect hearing because my hearing loss is a part of me and my identify.
One lesson that I have learnt in my lifetime is that you should always be proud of yourself. I am proud of myself and my hearing loss is a small factor in that.