Another side of hearing loss | Featured bloggers
During the month of September, Healthy Hearing will be featuring different bloggers in the hearing loss community. From those across the ocean to parents of children with hearing loss, we'll take a closer look at some of the top blogs and resources available to you! In this article we learn more about the other causes of hearing loss.
Hearing loss comes in many forms. It’s not simply a condition that gradually sets in later in life, as the majority of people recognize it. A number of genetic and environmental factors play into the cause of hearing loss, some even remain undetermined. Hearing loss also varies in intensity, ranging from mildly impaired to profoundly deaf.
For people who experience hearing loss in different ways, such as those impacted early in life or due to a trauma, having someone to relate to is important in processing and accepting the situation.
The SayWhatClub, for example, is a worldwide hearing loss forum based in Washington state that includes a blog aimed specifically at the deaf. There you can find a string of posts by Michele Linder, who chronicles her gradual deafness through personal essays and stories, as well as showcasing the narratives of others. Her stories are not always sunny, but they illustrate emotions and circumstances to which others living with deafness can relate. In “My Grandma’s Hands,” for example, Michele writes of watching her deaf grandmother return time and again to examining the intricate wrinkles of her own skin.
“What is she thinking? I used to wonder, but now I know. When no one takes the time, you begin to feel the world shrink away, you need a diversion to keep the sadness at bay and to steer your mind away from how truly isolated you feel,” Michele writes. “Now that I’m deaf, I find myself mesmerized by my own hands.”
Then there are those who are born with hearing loss, like Eleanor Jones’ son, whom she nicknamed Butters (because of the similarity between his first ultrasound and a butter bean). Butters was born with enlarged vestibular aqueduct syndrome (EVA) and Mondini’s syndrome, a malformation of the cochlea. While he is now two-and-a-half years old, hearing at 25 decibels and speaking in two- to three-word phrases, he is still behind in his development, and Eleanor values the support the online parenting community has given her.
“The main outlet that I found to help me deal with the hearing loss was finding blogs from other moms going through the same thing,” Eleanor said. “I still keep in contact with these moms and they are an invaluable resource and very supportive.”
Eleanor keeps her own blog, Hear We Go! The Adventures of Butters, with that in mind, and has had several parents reach out to her for advice over the years.
“I will never forget that hopeless feeling that I had when we first found out about our son's diagnosis, but I want other parents to know that it's okay to have those feelings and that there is support that's available,” she said.
While Eleanor and her husband have to work harder to teach their son every day, she said the milestones are that much more rewarding.
“The hardest part about being a mom to a child with hearing loss is that you're reminded on a daily basis just how hard your child has to work in order to understand what's going on in the world around him,” she said. “...I think the most positive and surprising aspect of our son's hearing loss is that we never take things for granted anymore. When my husband and I became parents for the first time, we didn't expect to have a child with hearing loss, but it's helped us to become much more patient and much more appreciative of the accomplishments that our son makes every day.”