Dear Upper Room Family,
My parents chose to not put me in Deaf Culture when I was 2 years old (and fitted with hearing aids for the first time ever). They bootcamped me through years of speech therapy and put me into mainstream society – sometimes I am still not sure if they realized all the consequences of their actions in doing this, because putting a nearly-deaf girl into a hearing world is a bit overwhelming. From the time I was young, I have struggled to engage in communication in social situations. Plenty of wounds were left over from this – most especially in peer-to-peer situations, stuff I’m still dealing with today. Only through Jesus am I able to overcome this – I don’t know sign language to this day. I’m thankful for the opportunity to be a part of American life, but you just never know! I am missing cilia cells from my left and right cochlea in my inner ears. Science and God are working on the miracle.
- Make sure that I can see your lips moving at all times. I’m an even better lipreader without my hearing aids.
- Speak clearly and articulately. In most cases, speaking louder is a bit offensive to me.
- Try to stay on my LEFT side.
- Patience in love is key. I need repetition.
- I thrive best in one-on-one settings when I can fully engage with the other person.
- Group conversations in person are overwhelming for me. In that case, it’s almost necessary for the speaker to wear my microphone at all times. This may partially fuel my love of GroupMe and social media, because we are on an equal platform.
- Because group conversations are hard, if Heaven could come to Earth in our community, everyone who is in the group conversation I’m in would speak loudly and clearly (or maybe pass the mic around) to make sure I can understand what they are saying. It’s so hard to watch everyone around you laugh while you have no idea what is going on.
- I use wireless bluetooth headphones to listen to podcasts, audio, music etc on my computer and phone. The Bluetooth technology wirelessly connects to hearing aids.
- I need my Roger clip-on device and Roger pen the most in group settings, restaurants, bars, games, driving in the car, hiking, etc. I use it less in quiet settings one-on-one. I will demonstrate to you in person how to use if you have questions.
- People far away from me are hard for me to “make out” what they are saying. The problem is never volume for me – it is always comprehension and the distance (as well as background noise) barrier of manmade technology unable to replicate God’s creation.
- Please don’t be afraid to call me on the phone! Apple does an AMAZING job making iPhones compatible for hard-of-hearing users – along with my Bluetooth headphones and Roger clip on and its partner.
With my hearing aids, I have a “mild” hearing loss. As I am typing this, I can hear cars rumble down the road late on this evening.
Without my hearing aids, the softest sound I can hear in my left ear is right above a vacuum cleaner, or a loud voice talking near my ear. In my right ear, I can hear rock concerts but not much more than that. I’ve considered a cochlear implant but the idea of damaging residual hearing in my right ear seems horrible. Technology has really advanced since 1988, and with each new hearing aid model released I can hear that much closer to glory.
Closed caption/subtitles is pretty much necessary for me. Also – I don’t enjoy the movie theater. I LOVE instrumental music – whether that is LeCrae, clean rap, rock, techno, whatever it is. I love to dance. However, worship and country is pretty much the only lyrics I can make out naturally with hearing aids 😉
Please don’t fear coming to me. And bring all the questions/concerns/prayers you have! I am really an open book. I really appreciate your love and support in this. I hope that this will help you in your future communication with people as well. Love you guys.