I can’t believe I never explained the cause of my hearing loss and the history. That’s one of the first questions I ask others. I was born profoundly deaf 90-100 db loss, and it was nerve-related (sensorineural hearing loss). My parents figured it out when I was about six months old because I wouldn’t react until they were in front of me. Since I was the youngest of three kids, they knew I should’ve been able to respond to sound by then.
At that time, my parents had two choices: oral or sign language. They didn’t want to send me to a residential school for the deaf, so they enrolled me in speech therapy, and a ton of it. I went to Easter Seals, Callier Center, TCU, speech therapist in my elementary school, Bluebonnet Elementary School and private speech therapy.
They didn’t want me to lose practice over the summer, so they took me wherever speech therapy was available.
Mom was amazing. She drove me from Fort Worth to Dallas three days a week for for several years (about 60 miles). Of course, I didn’t make it easy for her as I bounced all around the station wagon at a time when children’s car seats were worthless. Thankfully, I never got hurt.
Anyway, I learned to speak and lipread through all this tiring therapy. I admit having a bad attitude at times especially when I was older. (I went until I was 11.) I attended public schools except for 2nd grade when I went to a private school because my elementary school didn’t have 2nd grade.
Instead, kids were bused to a school in another neighborhood. My parents weren’t comfortable with my riding the bus. (Although I’m sure I would’ve been fine as I did it in 6th grade.)To all the teachers I’ve had (well, most anyway), I’m thankful for what they taught me and for their patience.
Hearing aids did work for me. I could hear running water, dog barking, male and female voices, dishwasher, etc. I usually have to be in the same room to hear these sounds. I just can’t understand without lipreading.
It’s like someone who doesn’t know the Russian language. The person can see Russian words, but can’t translate it. My hearing recognizes sounds and voices, but can’t understand what they say. I can talk on the phone a tiny bit — just simple yes / no questions. No conversations.