Coping with Deafness
I have never lived one day of my life where I was not challenged by my unique hearing and communication needs. Every day, I’ll come upon some obstacle that has to do with it. I’ve had trouble talking to taxi drivers, listening on the phone, and even understanding directions for where the bathroom was! Despite these challenges, I’ve led a successful life where I’m able to attend a good school, speak (without the use of sign language), and am surrounded by a supportive group of people. This leads to why I’m very serious about doing well in school. I know how fortunate I am to have been given this opportunity to lead a flourishing life, and I have a hopeful future for myself.
As one could assume, I am faced with challenges in daily school life. One prevalent example would be not hearing the teacher in the classroom. To solve this problem, I often sit up front in the classroom for louder speech. If I’m still not hearing the teacher effectively, I’ll suggest that they wear an FM, and often ask them a lot of questions to make sure I’m not missing anything important. Another example is trying to communicate with peers in heavy background noise. Almost everywhere I go in school, I find that there is background noise. It’s in the cafeteria, the hallways, the courtyard, the field, and so on. The first thing all deaf kids should do to solve this problem is surround themselves with friends who accept them for who they are, and that’s exactly what I did. I made friends who had patience with me, who understood that I had a hearing problem and didn’t judge me for it. By doing so, I am around people who are willing to repeat words or sentences for me if I can’t hear them well. If I still can’t hear them in a noisy environment, I’ll suggest a quieter area such as the library or a classroom. These two examples are only a couple of the numerous problems I have faced when in school.
However, throughout my educational career, I am continually persistent in learning, and believe that there is an improvement that can be made to any problem, no matter how difficult. It does feel frustrating at times. Imagine you’re sitting on an airplane waiting to get your headphones for the TV and radio. However, when you get them and plug them in, you discover that they’re broken, and they’re the only ones that are broken. You’d feel like you had a great disadvantage. Of course, you can just lie down and go to sleep for the whole ride, or you can try watching the movie and get the most out of the flight. This is the same situation here. I can simply give up and go to sleep, or I can try to watch the movie and make the flight worthwhile.
Nonetheless, I am very lucky I have people who understand this issue and want to help me. It is important that I, along with every deaf teenager who has gotten support, appreciate it. We are lucky to have people who are willing to spend their time, jobs, and energy, helping us. We are fortunate to have families who are willing to pay for our products and lend a helping hand along the way. Without these people, I would have probably been signing at a deaf school with an entirely different background, and a less prospective future. My advice to all the deaf kids out there is to accept yourself for who you are and find peers who will do the same. Then, with help from them, as well as your family, live each day without giving up.