My name is Amber…

I think I’ve had trouble hearing all my life. My parents had a lot to worry about, trying to make ends meet and learning a new language and culture, and they didn’t know if there was anything out there that could help me, or even how to get help if it did exist. But it should be different for me – I was born in Canada and grew up in Calgary.

teenager battling with hearing lossIn school I was always small, so I sat at the front of the class, watched the other kids a lot, and I got by, but I was shy and kept to myself when things got noisy. By the time I got to high school, my family and I had figured out that I didn’t hear very well and it was getting worse. My mom wanted me to see about getting hearing aids, and I knew that I should, but I refused because I didn’t want to look different from the other girls and more importantly, I didn’t want anyone to know that I couldn’t hear well.

In class I was embarrassed to ask the teacher to repeat things all the time, so I just looked at someone else’s paper to see if I had got things right and I tried to sit near the teacher. I hung out with a few friends and I could mostly understand them, but I didn’t join any teams or groups, do extra-curricular activities or enjoy going to parties. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to follow directions and conversations because I need to watch people’s lips and I can’t hear from behind.

hard to hear in schoolI managed to get through high school, and then near the end of grade 12 one of my teachers asked me to stay after class. She told me that she had a brother who was hard of hearing and that she could tell that I had the same problem. She told me that her brother wore hearing aids and had had some help from the school system. Now he was in university and the university also had help for him. And she told me that he had friends who knew about his hearing loss and that they helped him too. It was a real relief to talk to her, and I often think about what she said and wonder if things could be better for me.

I’m out of high school now and I have a job, but I’d like more – maybe to go to college or university or get a better job. My boyfriend is really nice to me and he tells me what people say sometimes, but I can’t always rely on him. He likes to go out to the bars and pubs and take me along. I go but I can’t really talk to people there, so I just smile and nod and try to laugh at the right things. I’d like to make more friends but it’s hard…

I want to be a happy adult and have a good life even if I am hard of hearing.

Good For Amber!

She has taken the first steps:

1) Admit that you have a hearing loss
and
2) Take responsibility for helping yourself

 

What else can I do?

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