I grew up in the Deaf community. My grandparents are deaf, my mother and sister are both hard of hearing, so I learned sign language before I learned to talk. When I was younger it was this awesome secret code I had with my hands– almost like a superpower. As I grew up, I wanted to become an interpreter for the Deaf and help those who couldn’t hear.
I went to school for a few years until I had what I can only describe as an attack on my body. I was fine one moment, and the next I was lying on the floor and the room and my head was spinning. I felt if I got up I would vomit. I felt scared that something was happening to me and I didn’t know the cause. This is was the first night I had vertigo, and many many months before anyone ever told me that Meniere’s Disease could be the cause.
For those who don’t know, Meniere’s Disease affects the inner ear and the balance of the body usually by having too much or too little sodium in the system. I started by not being able to have salt, then move on to more aggressive treatments for my vertigo. I’ve had drop attacks, days when I couldn’t get out of bed, and the worst migraines I can imagine and honestly, all of the pales to the hearing loss.
It’s one thing to grow up in the Deaf community as a friend or advocate, but to be apart of it, to have hearing loss yourself– it was something I never thought of happening to me. It has been a struggle for myself and for my loved ones to readjust to problems that the Deaf or HOH face that I knew all too well.
I’m on my second pair of hearing aids because the first weren’t strong enough, and I still have issues wearing them regularly. I guess I never thought of how loud things like air conditioners could be. Anyways, that is my story on hearing loss. I’ve decided to take what I had and use it. Luckily, I’ve known ASL my whole life.