Earlier this year I was invited to be trained as a positive role model with a hearing impairment.
I was quite chuffed!
It turned out to be one of the deepest learning experiences I have ever undertaken. I heard stories from 7 other individuals, from all walks of life, with various types of deafness or hearing impairment. We listened to each other’s stories over the weekend during training.
I was reminded how much my hearing impairment makes me who I am. And I must stress this is not a bad thing.
- Things I love about being deaf:
- Silence. Anywhere, anytime!
- The intensity of my relationships and friendships. When communication takes effort, it is valued and spent wisely. If I consider you a friend, you will know because I make the effort to connect far beyond the level of acquaintances.
- Not hearing lectures well at uni forced me to learn from textbooks. I’m currently knee deep in knowledge on tropical gardening, off grid living and solar power setups. I actually read textbooks for fun. This is incredibly useful at times.
- I think having a disability has opened my eyes to uniqueness as a beautiful thing.
These are just some of the things…
Hearing tests have become mandatory for newborns in Australia. As a result, many parents are learning much earlier that their child has a hearing impairment. Our group of role models are available for such parents (and the children) for support and questions.
I was not diagnosed with my hearing loss (moderate/profound) until I was 9 years old! It was quite a shock. I will leave the details for a later post, but suffice to say, I would have really benefited from such a support service had there been one at the time.
Because we are leaving Brisbane (the program is QLD funded) obviously I won’t be available for direct contact. But I’m going to start posting in the context of a hearing impaired person for the benefit of any parents who may be reading. I’ll be posting stories of my early experiences surrounding my hearing loss and how I managed it to become the man I am today.