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What is it like to lose your hearing as an adult?

What is it like to lose your hearing as an adult? Not older, but in your 30’s or 40’s?

You grow up hearing fine. Communicating in the language you were raised with (or others you learned as you grew up.) Then all of a sudden you notice you are having a harder time hearing others. Sounds around you are more muffled and difficult to understand. So you go to an audiologist and you are told that you have hearing loss. Not minor but significant enough to need a hearing aid. But what if you don’t want one? Most insurance for adults does not cover a hearing aid. They don’t consider a hearing aid a necessity. Hearing is a necessity but the equipment needed to hear when you lose your hearing is not? Where does that leave you?

The cost out of pocket for a hearing aid can range from $300 to over $1500 or more per ear depending on your needs and where you obtain them. If you are lucky you have benefits to cover the partial cost, but even then that could be hundreds of dollars or more. Most adults cannot afford that cost.

What about the ability to learn sign language to help? That’s a great thought but finding somewhere to learn it is the trick. Most hospitals offer interpreters for those who are already Deaf, but not classes to learn for those who are going or are Deaf. What about adults who prefer signing over hearing aids? What is available for them? Most colleges offer sign language, but the cost could be overwhelming and the classes hard to get into as younger students take the class for their chosen language.

I started noticing hearing loss around 2018-2019. I struggled with hearing someone talk to me in their normal tone from only 10 feet away in a quiet room. Then it progressed to struggling when someone had their back to me in a quiet room, to pinpointing the voice of someone talking to me in a crowded room. In public places crowds are inevitable. Even outdoors, the voices carry to a point where hearing people even next to me became a challenge. So I got my hearing tested initially in 2019 and there was some hearing loss, but not significant enough to warrant assistance. So I let it go. By 2021 it was noticeably worse. Something had to be done.

I did another hearing test and at that point I was told it was significant enough to need a hearing aid in one ear, but possibly in both. I was 44 years old. That was not something you want to hear at that age. I did not want a hearing aid. Yes it would help, yes I understood it was a necessity, especially in my line of work as a paraeducator working with students who are moderate to severely disabled. So I got one. The cost was a lot for a single parent to take but my insurance did NOT cover it. I, thankfully, got a discount thanks to union benefits but it was still well over $1,000.

So what was my next step? Preferably I would rather use sign language. I knew some thanks to the classes I took in college but that had been 20 years prior and the sign I knew from teaching my son sign as an infant wasn’t enough for communication so I was stuck using the hearing aid. It was small, discreet and blended in with my hair. But still, I had to wear one. But I noticed how much louder my job was with it on and turned on, so I stopped turning it on at work and just hoped for the best.

Then came students who were non-verbal that used AAC (augmentative and alternative communication) and who signed as well. I was finally able to put my signing to use again. Then I learned more and more. I realized how much I preferred it but not many people at work or even at home knew it. My daughter understood it, which helped in public for me to communicate, but she responded verbally due to her struggling to be able to sign.

Now to today, almost 6 years after I discovered my hearing loss. I wear a hearing aid in one ear, though I rarely turn it on but I wear it. I now work in a classroom with a teacher who understands my hearing loss and another staff member within my class has hearing loss as well. Where I am a 1:1 with a student who wears a Cochlear Implant and signs. So I can work on signing and learning more and more and I can communicate with my student verbally and in sign language. But that doesn’t help me outside of work. I’m expected to hear, which I’m still doing but the hearing loss is getting more and more noticeable. Enough that my bluetooth while talking on the phone is at full blast and it’s still a struggle. It’s enough that I use closed captioning when I Facetime on my phone or watch a tv show or movies on my computer. I am getting my hearing retested in a couple months (the soonest I could get an appointment.) I’m expecting more loss in my right ear as my left one currently has the most loss. Then will come the decision. Do I get another hearing aid or let it go? Do I want the expense of the hearing aid? Or do I find a resource for learning to sign and become more fluent than I currently am?

So I have some choices to make. Do I just decide to accept that I, as an adult with 2 kids (15 and 20) am losing my hearing and get another hearing aid OR do I accept what is happening but refuse to use another hearing aid and see how I can function without one? Not many people in my life, besides some people at my job, both staff and students plus my daughter (20) know how to sign. Others, namely my boyfriend, are trying to learn to make things easier on me. Then, finding somewhere that I can learn to become more fluent is the trick. There are online classes, but very few in person ones. Sure, I could learn easily online but I would much prefer somewhere closer to home to learn in person.

All I know is, I am an adult who is losing their hearing and struggling with how to cope. There are decisions I have to make and figuring out the right one for me is the trick.

#HardOfHearing #SignLanguage #adultswithautismandadhd

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Happy National ASL Day!

Today is National ASL Day! 🤟🏻🤟🏼🤟🏽🤟🏾🤟🏿

Did you know that the American School for the Deaf opened in Hartford, Connecticut on April 15, 1817?

“There, teachers and students worked together and, by intermingling Native American Signs, French Sign Language, and even Martha’s Vineyard Sign Language, American Sign Language (ASL) was born.”

National ASL Day is celebrated every year on April 15. This day celebrates and honors American Sign Language. ASL serves as the main sign language of Deaf groups in the United States.

Growing up hearing impaired, I learned some sign language from a good friend of mine who is deaf. She and her family and friends taught me many things that I utilized and was greatly helpful. A few years ago, my grandmother lived in a building for deaf and blind seniors, I had the wonderful opportunity of communicating with them through ASL and connecting with them on a personal level due to my own circumstances of being hearing impaired and legally blind. Last year, I took some online/remote classes through the Helen Keller National Center and one of them was for communications, where I expanded my knowledge of sign language and learned more. I even got to learn about haptic signs and tactile sign language which I would greatly benefit from due to my blindness. I am so grateful for all the people I have learned more from and am so excited to teach others about ASL!

This day is a great opportunity to celebrate and learn more about sign language.

Do you or someone you know uses sign language? Ask them to teach you some words and phrases. You never know when it may be useful!

Image Description: A light blue background with National American Sign Language Day April 15 in white font. On the bottom left corner of the image in a large white circle is a cartoon hand doing a sign for I love you.

#ASL #ASLDay #AmericanSignLanguage #NationalASLDay #NationalASLDay2022 #NationalAmericanSignLanguageDay #Inclusion #inclusionmatters #Accessibility #Language #Awareness #Deaf #DeafBlind #HearingLoss #HearingImpaired #Communication #Celebration #AmericanSchoolForTheDeaf #DeafCommunity #Opportunity #Love #people #communications #Students #Student #learning #AccessibilityForAll #AccessibilityMatters #Inclusivity #Inclusive #DeafCommunity #DeafAwareness #SignLanguage

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Guard my Life - Signed English and Interpreation

A song for when you don't have the words or strength to pray.
I'm so encouraged by all the people who like 'Guard my Life'. It really is my hope and prayer that my music and experiences would be a blessing to others. Here is its official music video with beautiful signed English and interpretation by Deanna Scott from Signing for His Glory.

#Deafness #HardOfHearing #Christian #Jesus #MentalHealth #BipolarDisorder #BipolarDepression #Depression #ChronicPain #Cancer #Anxiety #PTSD #CPTSD #Faith #Hope #SignLanguage #MightyMusic #Poetry

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Sign language Bible Translation

I am so proud of my brother and the organization that he is in. They are translating and educating others on how to translate the Bible into every kind of sign language.
He tells more about it in the video below.

If this is something that impacts you or someone you love, please pass it along. This is a huge task and they need all the support they can get.
#Deaf #Deafness #HearingLoss #sign #signing #SignLanguage #bibletranslation #Bible #Christian #parentofdeafchild #Otosclerosis #PagetsDisease #DeafCulture


Any first hand experience with sign language, such as Makaton, with autistics? #MakatonSigning #makaton #SignLanguage #AAC #NonverbalAutism #Nonverbal

Being able to communicate is important for everyone, especially with non-verbal autistics. everything we do rely on our ability to communicate with each other. Do you have experience with any sign language with autistics, such as Makaton, which is a language programme using signs and symbols. It is designed to support spoken language and the signs and symbols are used with speech, in spoken word order. I wonder why it is so under-used, and not promoted among nonverbal. Any insights or ideas?


Love without a Voice #mightypoet

I long to hear the ‘I Love Yous‘
With lots of kisses, or just a few,
A lingering hug, a wave or two,
Anything at all, as long as it’s from you.

I don’t mind the day or time,
I will wait forever for a sign,
That you know, how deeply I do,
Love every single inch of you.

I watch your eyes as I know you do,
Look deeply into mine too,
Your little smiles, your gentle looks,
Fill my heart and keep me hooked.

Waiting patiently everyday,
For your voice to find it’s way;
To fill my life and heart with love,
A sign that there is an above.

I love you now and I will love you still,
Whether that day Is to come, or it never will.
#AutismSpectrumDisorder #Nonverbal #gdd #PECS #SignLanguage