As a hard of hearing person with a severe loss I’ve been “hidden”. Having grown up as hearing person and fully mainstreamed without any special hearing assistance my loss has been largely invisible to others. It’s as if I’m on a raft and the sea is very calm. Slowly, slowly but surely I drift farther from shore, where all the hearing people are. I’ve been gradually moving into a sort of hearing limbo, neither fully hearing nor fully deaf.
As I prepare for my cochlear implant I’ve connected with other implant users, hearing loss associations, support groups, etc. I’ve officially joined this group of people linked via hearing loss and deafness. I’ve “come out”. If you asked me I would say that I’ve been assertive about my needs as someone living with hearing loss and I’ve tried to be good about talking about it. However, up until now the only accommodations I’ve employed have been those I could do myself. Now I am reaching out to others and accepting help and support that have been there, waiting for me, all along.
I’m told the implant is not a fix but a tool. I can look at it as the oar that will help me get close enough to shore so that I can communicate and participate. I will stay on the raft but now I’ll be tethered to land.