Dear Lipreading Mom,
I lost hearing in my right eight-plus years ago due to bi-lateral Meniere's Disease and am losing what I have in my left. I have taken some ASL and read lips very little; I haven't mastered the skill. I just wanted to ask a question. Do you ever feel as if you do not belong in the hearing world or the deaf world? This has been an incessant frustration for me as I guess I am having an identity crisis with regards to do I belong in either. Just wanted to see if you ever felt the same. Thank you in advance.
Sincerely, Lost Between Two Worlds
Dear Lost Between,
Thanks so much for contacting me. Your message is something I have reflected upon for the past couple of days. What I can say is this: You are not alone. There is a great (although sometimes silent) majority of people who can relate to your experience. When my hearing loss was diagnosed 12 years ago, I dealt with the thought of 'Where do I fit in now?' My immediate family and friends were all hearing, and I knew few people who were deaf. Where do people like you and I fit in?
You might find my blog post 'Can You Help Me Count My Lost Decibels?' interesting. It talks about what I learned about my own hearing loss and the hearing loss of other people. Here it is: http://lipreadingmom.com/2012/01/09/can-you-help-me-count-my-lost-decibels/
If you'd like to find local or online groups with people who relate to you and me, a helpful resource in the U.S. is the Hearing Loss Association of America (www.hearingloss.org). A blog and online discussion group I enjoy is www.DeafandHOH.com.
In response to your message---yes, I can relate. But I also know that people with hearing loss are out there waiting to meet you.
Would you please keep me posted?
Sincerely, Lipreading Mom
Ask Lipreading Mom
Shanna Groves was diagnosed with progressive hearing loss after the birth of her first child. She was 27. Raised in a hearing family, Shanna traces her hearing loss to a genetic loss on the paternal side of her family. She is mom to three young children, a published author, and speaker. Her books are featured at www.ShannaGroves.com. Shanna blogs about being a hard of hearing mom at http://LipreadingMom.com.