Friday, September 30, 2011

This is Not a Pipe

‎"The handicap of deafness is not in the ear; it is in the mind," Marlee Matlin

A year and about 4 months ago I lost my hearing in my left ear.  At first it was really hard for me.  With the loss of my hearing in that ear, I gained tinnitus, which is ringing of the ear.  Even though I would never actually hear out of that ear again, there will forever be a ringing or at least a static sound in that ear, although it has gotten a lot better with time.  

Over the past year or so I have had to make many adjustments.  The first time after I sat down at a piano after this happened, I could only play for a few minutes before I gave up and started crying.  It was too weird to not be able to hear it the same way anymore.  Same thing with choir.  I had been in some sort of choir since kindergarden, and now that love of mine was taken away because I couldn't hear people around me in order to blend.  Here I was adjusting to a new lifestyle that I didn't see coming at all.

It's crazy to think how much we take things for granted.  Up until this point I had never even thought to thank God for my hearing.  I took it so much for granted, appreciating it, but never really thinking about how I did so.  I had days last year when I would curl up in a ball after my music classes and cry.  Days when I had to relearn how to sing.  Days when I had to relearn how to love myself.

Like I talked about in an earlier post, this summer I became a lot more sure of myself through the eyes of God.  This took owning the things that I don't necessarily love about myself.  This included my ear.  It was hard for me to accept this.  I was born physically disabled as well with clubbed feet, but I had an easier time accepting that when I read passages from the Bible that talk about being "fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalms 139).  But this wasn't the way I was made.  This was the way I became.  Does this come from God?

I really struggled with this question.  It has been hard for me to grasp hold of the fact that I'm deaf.  At first we looked into all the options of hearing aids, and finally found one that would work.  It's called the Baha bone enhancing hearing aid.  Basically they would put a titanium screw in my head and then I could put this device on my head that would transfer sound waves through my scull so I could hear sound from the left side in my right ear.  However, the insurance has denied it multiple times.

For some reason I have felt like God really wants me to take American Sign Language and learn how to glorify him through that.  So this semester I started that class.  Wow.  My grades in that class may not be as high as they should be (I'm taking two languages...), but I am loving it.  I love how the class is silent and how I am learning more and more about not only the language, but also the culture everyday.  There is a deaf community out there, which is something not many hearing people realize.  It is really interesting to learn about it.

I think that this class and how supportive all my family and friends have been has helped me to realize that I am still as capable as a hearing person.  I still have meaningful relationships, was able to be a camp counselor for 2 summers, am still a student at THE best university (Sic 'em) and still can make music.  I may have to sit at a certain spot at a table, may have to move around so I can hear better, and in conversation may seem rude because I am turned to the left so I can hear better.... but I am adjusted.

I've been watching the show Switched at Birth today, and one of the girls in it is deaf.  She uses ASL, and it is really awesome to watch her and her family interacting.  I love seeing the culture that they use.  In one of the episodes, her new found parents (birth parents) are trying to see what would be best for her in education.  She is currently in a deaf school that uses ASL as it's primary language, but they take her to visit a private hearing school.  When they do this, they talk about how we hearing people (yes, I put myself in that category) tend to think that there is something wrong with not being able to hear.  Something wrong with them, and that we have to fix them so they are better or whatever.

This hit me.  Here I have been spending time worrying and hoping that I could get a hearing aid, and to be perfectly honest I don't want one anymore I think.  It would be awesome if I could get one, but I don't know if it would be worth it.  I would have to adjust to hearing out of both ears again, and that would be weird.  and I am used to being half deaf now.  I am used to talking on the phone with only one ear, or sitting on a certain side of people.  Sure there are times when I wish I could still hear out of both, but who am I to question what God is doing?

God did this for a reason, and I am excited to keep discovering why.

Also, feel free to ask me questions about this.  I'm not offended or anything.  If I want to stop talking about it, I'll let you know.

The "E" isn't correct....